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Tag: angels

up my idiosyncrasies – Plato‏


      “The School Of Athens (1510-1511)
he sounds just like you, my friend said,
who’d bought me the works of Plato
for C***mas maybe, or my birthday, or 
maybe just because he knew I’d very
much appreciate them
we were reading him together, as is 
always my inclination, his Meno 
according to my calculations, 
Socrates was doing most of the 
talking, with Meno, a Sophist 
acolyte, a school of philosophy then, 
the Sophists, which claimed it could 
prove anything by using the right 
lawyers, of course, ensued, politicians
and rhetoric, the art of proving anything 
by using the right arguments 
philosophy had reached a structural,
indeed an existential, impasse, why, 
they therefore wondered, philosophy
wherein it entered a phase of moral 
speculation, StoicismEpicureanism,
ScepticismCynicism, and can you 
blame them, theories about the 
stars, the moon, the world, even 
matter itself, had become so 
questionable, was it fire, air, water, 
atoms, at its source, who knew
I thought so too, I said, and told 
him that Plato’s were the first   
texts studied in philosophy when 
entered university, that’s where I 
learned to talk like that, philosophy 
from the scratch, as my German 
teacher would’ve said, which is to 
say, from its very beginnings, 
whence I could view, I figured, the 
evolution of received wisdom in 
Western culture
I was young then, the young have 
such dreams 
my father had been agnostic, ever
asking questions, though we were 
being raised Catholic, my sister 
and I, on account of our mother 
tongue, our entire community, 
having been historically linked 
with that religion, and cause my 
parents wanted us to be educated 
in French
an existentialist crisis would
eventually follow, I intuited, as
indeed it did, so I majored in 
Socrates taught me to ask 
questions, that no one had  
all the answers
Plato, usurping his master’s voice, 
created the paradigm for our present 
version of a Divinity, and Its Paradise
there is an ideal version of any 
item we might consider, he spouted,
an ideal table, for instance, exists
of which every material table is an
imperfect example
to virtue, love, beauty, truth, he 
applied the same principle, which
early erudite Catholics, Augustine
Thomas Aquinas, for instance, and
others, despite rejecting all of the 
other Greek cultural achievements
appropriated in order to bolster their 
impression of God, the ideal of the 
this lasted uncontested for just
over a thousand years
for a thousand years our salvation
had been extraterrestrial, 
supranatural, this, our very, 
perhaps only, existence, an 
imperfect reflection of somewhere
else an ideal, a mere simulacrum,  
we were, a metaphor
Socrates had only asked questions,
what is virtue, what is justice, what
is beauty, truth
Plato presumed to have known the 
Aristotle is making a comeback,
whose method, in opposition to 
his contemporaneous forebear,  
was much more like Charles 
Darwin‘s, working from the facts, 
which proved then, and are 
proving still now, to be multifarious, 
diverse, astonishing, and nearly 
enough to make you believe in 
God/dess again, this time, however, 
through the back door 
or in a multiplicity, a panoply, a 
very pavilion, even, of natural 
deities, otherwise known as 
angels, for better or for worse
God/dess bless, or angels

“Easter Oratorio”, BWV 249 – Johann Sebastian Bach‏


                                    El Greco
                        for Martha and Chris, who still go to Easter 
                        Mass, and whom Martha calls therefore  
                        and for Staf and Annemie, who live in 
                        presently beleaguered Belgium, and 
                        who must, at this time of distress, 
                        need our prayers
having long ago lost track of the Christian
calendar, I only this week found out 
Sunday ‘d be Easter, therefore Friday
Good Friday, not that this would much 
change my daily routine, but it set me 
perusing pertinent art, I knew I could 
count on Bach for an oratorio, and sure 
enough I found it
an oratorio, as I earlier explained, is an
opera without sets or costumes, usually
associated with religious services, but 
Bach had one for every Sunday and 
every Christian feast day
after an instrumental introduction, 
reminiscent of Handel, I thought, 
Bach’s “Easter Oratorio” slips into a
lovely adagio, notable for its exquisite
oboe obligato, where the innocence 
and purity of that wind defines the 
the ceremonial pomp of the earlier 
section then returns to include 
chorus expressing triumph, the 
realization that the Lamb of God 
has returned
but soon enough, Mary, the soprano 
of a quartet of singers, each of the 
four singing according to their own – 
alto, Mary Magdalene, tenor, Simon 
Peter, bass, John the Evangelist  
voices, and accompanied by an 
utterly transcendental transverse 
flute, sings 
      “My soul, the spice that embalms 
       you shall no longer be myrrh. Only
       a crown of laurels can soothe your 
       anxious longing.”  
and knocks your socks off 
this week at market, stuffing my 
organic red pepper and a bag of 
handcrafted chips, barbecued,
designer, into my bagat their 
express counter, collecting my 
coins, my receipt, my change 
purse, my wallet, and last but not 
least, of course, my self, I sensed 
something of mine drop, looked 
dutifully aroundcould find 
nothing, wondered, and made to 
excuse me, sir, I heard behind me, 
you dropped something
a little boy, an urchin, blond hair, 
blue eyes, right out of Charles 
Dickens, I thought, eight maybe,
nine, held out a quarter, apparently 
why thank you, I replied, enchanted
and you know what, I asked, I’m 
going to give this back to you, and 
put the quarter back into his hand
the last time I did something like 
that, I saw an angel, I remembered
but that’s another story
thank you, he said back, gleaming
with the maturity of his interaction, 
though I’m not sure he wasn’t 
himself in fact also a very angel
later I thought I should’ve sent him 
for a crème brûlée, a piece of carrot 
cake, a pastry, or something, and 
berated myself for the paucity of 
my recompense
but there is a link to Easter in my 
tale, the idea of hope, revival, 
regeneration, in the possibility of
goodness reentering the world, a
task inherited by the children, and 
whom we must not lead astray
apart from its more traditional 
associations, for perhaps the less 
observant, people of other creeds 
and faiths, if Easter means anything 
still, or has ever, it is about just that, 
hope, revival, regeneration, nor must 
we ourselves betray those ideals   
happy Easter 

XLll. “My future will not copy fair my past” – Elizabeth Barrett Browning

from Sonnets from the Portuguese

XLll. My future will not copy fair my past

“My future will not copy fair my past”
I wrote that once; and thinking at my side
My ministering life-angel justified
The word by his appealing look upcast
To the white throne of God, I turned at last,
And there, instead, saw thee, not unallied
To angels in thy soul! Then I, long tried
By natural ills, received the comfort fast,
While budding, at thy sight, my pilgrim’s staff
Gave out green leaves with morning dews impearled.
I seek no copy now of life’s first half:
Leave here the pages with long musing curled,
And write me new my future’s epigraph,
New angel mine, unhoped for in the world!

Elizabeth Barrett Browning


“You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this
matter to be actually something which I think I would never understand.
It seems too complicated and extremely broad for me.
I am looking forward for your next post, I will try
to get the hang of it!“

because there was no return address
on this comment, and because its
uncorroborated website, a gaming site,
seemed to me suspect, I’ve chosen to
reply within the safer body of my
discussion, rather than within the
thickets and brambles of the more
treacherous Internet

but I profoundly respect the, not at all
uncommon, opinion

therefore this

Elizabeth Barrett Browning is not
immediately accesible to us in the
early 21st Century, this comment is
such an example, unsolicited but
honest, and it is the cry of the
uninitiated through no fault of their
own before time’s obfuscating,
even linguistic, even literary, but
ever ineffable, shroud, I had the
same sense of its, often, preciosity
when I first started reading poetry,
not only even but especially the
greats who’d been recommended,
it took a poet who spoke my
language before I could take
verse seriously

but since then it has become for
me a garden of existential, of
transcendental, delights,
revelations I can’t help but want
to share, not only substantial
stuff, but, I think, sacred

no one has said it better to date
than Pamela Spiro Wagner in
How to Read a Poem: Beginner’s

“Read just one poem a day.
Someday a book of poems may open in your hands
like a daffodil offering its cup
to the sun“

even a daffodil like Elizabeth
Barrett Browning

Elizabeth is a siren here, I asked of heaven,
she says, “My future will not copy fair my
and along comes, goodness, a
miracle in the form of, more or less, an
angel – “not unallied / To angels in thy
she describes him in her particular
Victorian dialect, not always immediately

she was so happy then, she grew ”green
she asserts, evidently exaggerating,
“with”, even, “morning dews impearled”,
she further enthusiastically confides, but
of which we won’t out of discretion, of
course, inquire

let’s just say she will hitch her wagon
therefore to his, [n]ew angel mine”, star,
for the foreseeable, however “unhoped
, future

which man could resist being called “not
unallied / To angels“,
Elizabeth, seductress,
enchantress, I call my man Apollo, my
golden god of light


Beethoven piano sonata no 28 in A major, opus 101

Erte - "The Angel"

The Angel



Beethoven’s piano sonata no 28, opus 101,
in A major
, is the first of what is considered
to be his late piano sonatas, as opposed to
early and middle, three entirely distinct
periods that are easily recognizable upon
closer listening, the early ones are bold,
even headstrong, with Beethoven’s ever
characteristic vigor and Promethean authority,
the length themselves of his early works are
a testament to his sense of his own great
personal validity, the first four, to my mind,
go on much longer than often enough they
should, a typically youthful presumption on
his part, and are musically at best trite, I find,
after their first expositions, the repeats come
as redundant, and tolerable merely, surprises,
even the famous 8th, the Pathétique“, opus 13,
is, I think, too brash and impudent, however in
this manner, nevertheless admittedly, entirely
effective, listen

the Pastorale“, of the middle period, opus 28,
no 15
, is where I deem the music to become
henceforward sublime, it has a settled
confidence that brims with not only technical
wizardry but with also positively enchanting
and entrancing musical ideas, bursting like
very flowers in springtime, with colour and
inspired, effervescent, imagination

the late period is where Beethoven becomes,
however, a sage, a prophet, and indeed a
hierarch in the new secular order of a
reconstituted Heaven, after all, someone
had to take the place of the now discredited
angels, Nietzsche called them Übermenschen,

the 28th sonata starts out slowly, or rather,
more slowly than the earlier forthright ones,
already a sign of less physical, more
measured and considered reponses, my
impression here is of a grandfather visiting
his granchildren, jovial but not too disportive,
merely jaunty, always cheery but for a moment
of haunting melancholy, at the adagio, before
becoming congenial and avuncular again,
with then a big, boastful ending, snapping
staunchly his patriarchal suspenders,
getting the last, and traditional, word, with
a firm, which is to say, a foursquare-major-
chord, finish, the aural equivalent of turning
out the lights

musically, however, the progressions are
exploratory, incremental, more and more
layered with possible, and often apparently
rejected outcomes, in order to try out
something more fitting, maybe, more
accurate, a deconstruction, in other words,
of musical ideas, an investigation, in search
of a viable musically cohesive path

in the 28th sonata Beethoven, I think, is
doodling, however, coming up with the
methods of his great addresses, the
language here is not yet philosophically
precise, a smattering merely of pianistically
plausible ideas, musical sketches, the first
stirrings here, you’ll gather, of formal jazz

in the next sonata, the 29th, the still
unsurpassed “Hammerklavier”, he writes
the definitive book, speaking for music in
the forthcoming history of the world, and
determining its future path, we are still
moving along on his transcendent carpet,
no one ‘s come along still to give us a
more assured ride, kind of like Homer,
some would say Shakespeare, others
Albert Einstein, other, incidentally,
post-Christian, post Revolutionary

who do you presently pray to, who are
your angels, who your Superwomen,
towards what do you aspire,
towards whom

Superwomen, -men, incidentally,
cultivate their own efflorescence,
manifest their own, I think, destinies,
or, if you like, their own Heaven

much as I believe angels also do

Mozart’s Fantasy in C minor on the
same program
shows him in a nearly
Beethovenian mode atavistically, much
more somber than he usually is, but he’s
nevertheless easily distinguished by
his much less intricate musical
accompaniment and his much more
rigorous melodic line, you’re more
likely to hum it

Mozart also composes from the nursery,
I find, the exhilaration of playful discovery,
you can see the toy soldiers, the golden
tresses on little milkmaids in dirndls with
red circles for cheeks

Mozart’s pieces are like nursery rhymes

Beethoven progresses to literature

before you judge me too harsh on Mozart,
by the way, consider that my favourite
piece of the two in this program is the
Mozart, it’s like comparing apples and
oranges, though, it depends on your
mood that day which you’ll favour



psst: just in case you missed it, this version
of the Pathétique is the best I’ve ever
heard, indeed, of all the pieces here
the most extraordinary, don’t miss it

Franz Schubert – String Quintet in C major, D 956‏

"Schubert at the Piano" II (1899) - Gustav Klimt

Schubert at the Piano (1899)

Gustav Klimt


the Filarmonica Quartet, which I’d earlier described
as “not at all unimpressive”, show themselves here,
performing Schubert‘s otherworldly String Quintet
in C major, D 956
, to be the very sound of those
angels Schubert calls upon to perform his
miraculous music

their hometown Novosibirsk audience will continue
however to stubbornly, shamelessly, cough, in
scattered places, though the angels themselves,
the players, seem not especially distraught, they
play with great conviction, patience and tolerance
throughout superbly, caught up surely in their own
Schubertian Nirvana, a not uninstructive response

the Filarmonica Quartet of course will need a fifth
to play with them a quintet, who is, I think, the
extra cello at the front on the right, uncredited,
the piece calls for two violins, a viola and two
cellos, instead of the standard, at the time, extra
viola, surely for their greater and more resonant
chthonic character, which is to say, triggered by
the very earth

Franz Schubert, 1797-1828, died much too young,
only 31, this piece was completed not two months
before he passed away

it is also therefore a very haunting last testament


psst: D is for Otto Erich Deutsch

the sixth and seventh circles of Purgatory

after having managed with Dante first the seven circles of lurid Hell,
then five in the much more tolerable Purgatory, I’ve reached the sixth
and seventh circles there of Lust and Gluttony, sins I have been more
particularly prone to
the egregious crimes of murder, fraud, treason, blasphemy, the stuff 
of very Hell, were never a concern for me, while the venial imperfections 
of pride, envy, wrath, sloth, Purgatory’s more tempered lot, would never,
surely, transcendentally confound me, I thought, should there be indeed
a Hell, a Heaven, or a Purgatory, notions incidentally that were first made
explicit by Dante himself in his “Divine Comedy“, no earlier topographical
description of the place had ever been written, later Bosch would paint his
Garden of Earthly Delights”  
we owe our notions of the Christian afterlife even still to Dante 
but where of course does all this fit in a universe we know to be infinite,
an idea itself, that last, that is no less awesome
somewhere above Olympus, the home of the Greek Gods, is where it sits,
I think, but beneath the canopy of the stars, which enclosed the earth then, 
but which dispersed, it would seem, of its own incorporeality when we’d
reached beyond  
at the terrace of Gluttony, a level that winds around the mountain,
Dante meets among emaciated shades – “shades”, he says, “that
seemed things dead twice over”, who hunger for instead of victuals
eternal life – Forese Donati, an old flame 
“how did you come so far so fast?”, he asks his bosom friend who’d died
only a short four years earlier  
“It is my Nella”, he replies, his wife
        “whose flooding tears so quickly brought me 
         to drink sweet wormwood in the torments. 
         With her devoted prayers and with her sighs,
         she plucked me from the slope where one must wait  
         and freed me from the other circles.”
but I think it was Dante himself who could never have consigned such a
privy buddy to anything short of Purgatory   
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    and that was the terrace of Gluttony
tomorrow I do Lust   
upon moving towards that terrace, the last before reaching the
circles of Paradise, an angel blinds Dante with its radiance so that
he must turn away his eyes  
        “And as, announcing dawn, the breeze of May
          stirs and exudes a fragrance
          filled with the scent of grass and flowers,
          just such a wind I felt stroking my brow  
          and I could feel the moving of his feathers,
          my senses steeped in odor of ambrosia.” **


I wish you angels, and Heaven 
*    “Purgatorio“, XXIII, 85-90 
**  “Purgatorio“, XXIV, 145-150 
                           translations by Robert and Jean Hollander






about poems

a while ago, around a piece I’d sent purporting to be a poem,
a friend asked, can a poem have only two lines 
what do you think, I answered, can it, was it 
which is to say a poem is in the eye of the beholder 
what would you call the following strophe, it is worth considering, the more you define what you mean by a poem, the more, like angels, like miracles, you find them, the more, soon, you find your own, the more suddenly they’re everywhere 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A Hand

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     A hand is not four fingers and a thumb. Nor is it palm and knuckles, not ligaments or the fat’s yellow pillow, not tendons, star of the wristbone, meander of veins. A hand is not the thick thatch of its lines with their infinite dramas, nor what it has written, not on the page, not on the ecstatic body. Nor is the hand its meadows of holding, of shaping— not sponge of rising yeast-bread, not rotor pin’s smoothness, not ink. The maple’s green hands do not cup the proliferant rain. What empties itself falls into the place that is open. A hand turned upward holds only a single, transparent question. Unanswerable, humming like bees, it rises, swarms, departs.  
                                    Jane Hirshfield



Stefan Lochner

    Stefan Lochner 007.jpg

                                   Stefan Lochner




                       “Madonna in the Rose Bower”                            




                                    for Christmas


                           I wish you faith in angels    








July 8, 2008

                                                                                                                                        for my mom and for, of course, my father 

                                                                                                                                    July 8, 2008:

for reasons salacious perhaps the previous day, or perhaps because all by himself my father could, sui generis, transport himself in a mystical leap of his otherworldly essence quite independently of any other merely material considerations and imbue me readily with his radiant spirit, I awoke the next morning, his birthday, thus imbued, radiant of spirit, in a mood ready to celebrate

I read of course my Proust first, my morning prayer, followed with a few pages of Thoreau’s inspired “Walden” for poise, purpose and poetry

my morning coffee steamed at my side, golden and aromatic, my eiderdown pillow plushly propped up my back, a feather bedspread lightly cushioned my upturned knees where my book lay, a finger slowly savouring each flip of each precious page, while a bird at my window surely sang precise notes to the morning sun

then up from my devotions I called my mother to find out if she’d herself remembered, she hadn’t, the date, she remorsefully said, had entirely slipped her by

no matter, I retorted, allowing for no recriminations, tonight we’ll celebrate, it had been nineteen years at least since the last time

she set about her day, I mine, until we’d meet for dinner

                                                                                                                              meanwhile I called my sister, who’d of course remembered, sang even her song of his that she recalled he would sing apparently always at his birthday, my mom remembered it too when I asked, o it’s the eighth of July and Easter Sunday too, to indicate a day of high celebration

my nephew was not home but I left him, and his, loving words

my aunt then, and then another aunt, his only remaining sisters able to answer the phone, another would not be easily reached at her nursing home, might not have remembered even her brother, I did not try

I drew the line as well at cousins, they are dispersed and abound

but a friend who’d lost herself a father only a year earlier, I made a point of calling, in sympathetic communication, she was not home, I told her machine instead she was an angel, she’d hear when she got home 

but already there was a buzz, and I’d been busy setting it, to my already glowing delight

                                                                                                                                   along the street as I made my way to a dentist’s appointment I thought, my dad will appear today, somehow, he always does when I call, when I listen, and cocked an ear, kept an eye out, sharpened all my even extrasensory senses

but right then and there only the trees, as far as I could tell, were imparting, though mostly only to heaven, the leafy poems that they were writing there, about life, about the seasons, about transformation, about time, while we under their shelter and shade are busy especially running errands, leaving the patterns of their intricate shadows unnoticed mostly on our walk, walks, scrutable of course but for many hieroglyphic, esoteric, arcane, like for many for that matter many of our standard poems

I marveled at their rhythm, rejoiced at their rhyme, stood still to contemplate their wisdom, stood reverent before their poise and grace, at which they sibilantly sighed of course, sending me so inspired along

in all of this however I could only indiscriminately yet detect a father, my father

I pressed stalwartly on

                                                                                                                                 today’s my father’s birthday, I blurted out to my dentist when he asked how I was, before I could even think of what I was saying

forthwith both he and his assistant put a cloud of dark condolence on, a pall was cast over each their ebullience, I felt the sun leave in an instant each their spirit, but I would have none of it, my father brought only joy, had been offering me only that for years now, I thought their response perhaps instinctive, certainly and graciously full of heart, but off the mark, there was no reason whatsoever to court sadness, none at all

I explained my relation to my father

before he died, dad, I said, let me know from the other side, I am your son, I’ll hear you, later of course I heard, often when I would be praying for something

at first I’d bargain, I’ll do this for that, I’d ply, then one day when my mom could not, she said, quite make out that he was there for her, like a revelation I replied, like a very inspiration I stated, ask for something, he’ll have to answer you, you’ll know then, and not only you’ll know but he’ll be overjoyed to be able to help you, to be with you, for you to be with him, for you to recognize he’s there, whereupon of course I was overwhelmed by tears of utter gratitude and wonder, I’d lived long with this truth already, but had never put it into words  

                                                                                                                                        a drill sat poised at my mouth, I suddenly noted, but hushed apparently by the Elysian nature of my account, Elysium, that mythic abode of the honourable dead, I deferred but was encouraged to tell on, therefore, aware that my teeth were presently to be done, briefly as I could, I recounted from my store representative miracles, though I warned, my miracles abound, I see them everywhere, to be at the foot of not one but two rainbows, for instance, with someone at that point who needed one, hadn’t been too sure of any till now, how much of a miracle was that, and that was an essentially easy one, others were intricate, textured and subtle, not as crisp, clear, iridescent as two incontrovertible rainbows

a burning bush, yes, a burning bush, a tree as though on fire, after a walk I had with God, fiery orange and bristling, or the purple aura of buds, their nascent energy, gleaming in the dewdrops along a brittle branch not quite recovered still from hard winter another night as I walked home, when God wasn’t there for me especially, just omnipresent as usual, they were catching the pulse and colour of yet unborn blooms, the glowing advent of their pink and precious incarnation

                                                                                                                                       but these I didn’t even bring up

I told of a dinner in Vienna when my dad showed up in the guise of a melody, a “serenata” my mom would listen to when he passed away, with birds in it, the twitter of birds to decorate with garlands of their own ornithological music a pastoral piece for Classical orchestra, it has remained for nineteen years on her turntable, but nowhere anywhere else had I ever heard it before, she among only a few family and friends, who’d been moved by her being moved mostly

we’d been separately to the same restaurant in Vienna many years earlier, at separate times, a memorable historical place, the oldest in Vienna, the fare hearty and traditional, the service inspired, superb, the atmosphere scintillating, we’d contrived my mother and I to return together when it was happening I would be there, and she would meet me for the occasion

we were chatting over wine when my mother raised a finger to the music that was playing lightly, it was my father, a thousand miles away from home, joining us, we raised our hearts to love and basked as warmly in the golden moment as in its candlelight

the time in Buenos Aires also when a stone angel had become a man, a man become an angel, for where is the divide, I always ask, between the two, a mime so good, so convincing, I’d mistaken him for a sculpture, who’d then incrementally begun to move when a girl dropped a coin in an adjoining coin box for him, which indeed had puzzled me on what I’d thought was public art

a friend had asked if I had a coin, which he gave to a young girl for the coin box, a beautiful, in and of itself, act, I’d thought, of saintly charity, she dropped it in, the figure to my consternation moved, I trembled, beheld amazed the transsubstantiation  

                                                                                                                                         but it was time to return to my teeth

those are just the bare bones, I said, of those miracles, they become resplendent even more in more detail, and I let him enter my mouth, then, gagged and throttled, did not prevent him, couldn’t’ve, wouldn’t’ve, from wondering aloud about some of his own perhaps similar instances, old ladies, he said, mostly, who’d on occasion flit by, in the corner of an eye, that he’d noted and dismissed as too improbable, ask them instead for something next time, I said, you’ve excluded the possibility of their being for too long, time for something different

it was                                                                                                                                    

what’s got a hold of me, I suddenly wondered, there in the dentist’s chair, blathering away despite even the dental paraphernalia hanging or hovering at my mouth, and with such insistence, and all morning

in Homer the Olympian gods speak and act through people, take over their spirit, get them to do their bidding on earth

this was my father, I suddenly saw, with more delight than consternation, laying claim to my filial respect and heart

I’m doing the Lord’s work here, I merrily gurgled, I’m doing the work of the Lord, for it had been a short step only a while back already now from my dad to my Creator, from my dad to my God, who shimmered interchangeably according to the occasion, according to the ground for my call

I was elated, thought this might be even grace, why not, I am as well a child of God, I countered, we all are

later I knew it was

                                                                                                                                     but let me step back

we had a wonderful dinner, my mom and I, beneath an only blue sky on the ivied terrace of an Italian restaurant, drank expensive wine, ate succulent antipasto, pasta, toasted the idyllic night, walked home along inspired streets of summer

I’ve thought, what could he have been trying to say apart from hello, how are you, and maybe, not maybe but surely, o it’s the eighth of July and Easter Sunday too, celestial messages ought to be weightier than that, I reasoned, loftier

I believe that what he was trying to say was, there is a heaven, there’s heaven, purpose and hope, that July the eighth was Easter Sunday too, in fact, a day of also revelation, as all days are if you want them to

                                                                                                                                          so spake, I believe, my father





the stone angel

these earlier “back tracks”, of which the following is one example, are pieces I consider still to be worth your while

please enjoy


for Greg, its champion

the stone angel:

miracles are of course in the eye of the beholder, like beauty, truth, and love

I remember being told by my mother about the wife of a cousin of my father, she was notoriously unattractive, indeed downright ugly, everyone said, her daughter later worked for my father in our family’s store, she was cheerful, industrious, and eager to be working there, one day when her mom came in her daughter called out to her mom as she entered, hi beautiful and altered forever my conception of beauty

miracles are also such entities, they happen in the heart and in the soul, without these there are merely serendipitous circumstances bereft of either reason or wile

but to the wide-eyed innocent still dazzled by the glory of a sunrise, the splendour of a sunset, the iridescent grace and beauty of a shimmering rainbow stretching its improbable arc across a sun-strewn sky, hot on the heels of routed clouds and blustering but receding thunder, miracles are a sign of heaven, the consequence, the stardust, of faith

we’d been headed out to dinner after a day of taking in Buenos Aires, making our way along one of its more popular streets, Avenida Florida is closed to traffic but teems with the to and fro of shoppers, tourists, merchants, and of course minstrels, entertainers, we’d seen a pair of men dancing the tango together for coins, each in a formal though somewhat worn-out black suit, young novices, a girl in black as well, in mesh, sultry hose, dark, beautiful and mysterious, stood to the side awaiting her moment, we thought they were probably students of tango, their steps were informed but not quite yet smooth and silken as the dance requires

Greg had been telling me about a mime who’d done magic for children, they would drop a coin into a box for her and she would then somehow make a light glow in their palm as she dropped something into it

I’d listened inattentively, making my way through the crowd instead, that flowed like a turbulent river all around and kept me alert especially to its currents

look, Greg said, it was a stone angel he was pointing at, a charcoal statue about the size of a man, the wings hadn’t been intricately described but they were the right size and spread convincingly above the reverent posture, the head was bent forward somewhat in prayer, the hands piously enfolded, a stone tunic fit the shape and turns of the heavenly body as though it were indeed cloth, the feet, the articulated toes, rested mystically upon the charcoal pedestal

I don’t remember seeing that there, I said to Greg, we’d been along that street before but I’d also always paid more attention to the traffic than the storefronts, and wasn’t unduly surprised that I’d missed maybe even this angel

do you have any change, Greg asked, I noticed a box at the foot of the angel, also charcoal, part of the sculpture, though I thought it strange in fact on public art

no, I said instinctively, careful not to squander my meagre pot, but when he asked again after I’d further considered, rued my initial ungenerous response, I dredged up a few pesos from an alternate pocket

Greg held out the coin to a little girl who stood nearby with her mother, offered it for her to take, whereupon she came by, accepted the change, then proceeded to the sculpture, and dropped the offering into the box for donations, then withdrew

but by then the angel had quivered, was coming to splendid life, and like a revelation had begun to unfold

of course this was a man, I understood in the very moment, but a man in the guise of an angel, which of course is an angel in the guise of a man, for where does the line begin or end which divides them

with a wave of his hand he beckoned the little girl back, she returned and in her palm which he held in his own blessed hand he bestowed a gift, which didn’t glow, I incidentally thought, but must nevertheless be wondrous

already I quivered, frozen in awe, but quaking like a leaf in a mystical wind

the little girl turned around to Greg, held out the gift in her little palm to give it safely and dutifully back to him, but when she opened her hand for him to retrieve the holy thing he merely touched it back again enclosing it there for her to keep, the act itself of another angel, spontaneously selfless, selflessly spontaneous, munificent

by this time of course there were tears in my eyes, I’m a sucker for the acts of angels, but the angel himself had been observing the kindness being proferred in his name, he signalled Greg over and bestowed upon him a gift which again he retrieved from a breast pocket stitched in the stone above his heart

Greg returned with a miniature silver crucifix that gleamed and glistened in his palm, not a glow, incidentally, but an incandescence, and indeed wondrous

but the angel was not about to leave me out and beckoned that I might too receive this blessing so that I advanced to receive also my little cross, he must’ve recognized my fervent admiration, my dumbfounded awe, and would honour me also, I gathered, with his favour

others followed suit, deposited their pesetas, received their little crosses from an always consummate angel, calm, poised, respectful, and profoundly inspirational always, until the wave of them wore off

I still quavered as though the earth had moved, like any creature stunned by for instance lightning, like any one of us before a force of nature starkly and grandly manifested, there is so much we overlook

but driven by finally logic and the practicality of moving on – even mystical experiences are finite – we wended our way forward toward our dinner out, but only a few yards on, meters if you will, out from where we’d had our visitation, I felt I’d left something wholly unfinished, wholly unsaid, asked Greg to return and with me, for me, tell the angel he’d been miraculous, magnificent, that I’d been so very much inspired, in Spanish, for all I could speak was English, and Greg was versed in their tongue

in his ear Greg spoke a fervent Spanish, he’d been there too, was also eager, I slipped a larger, more appropriate amount, I thought, into the coin box, more in keeping with the experience

but the angel didn’t move

he probably didn’t hear, Greg later pointed out, paper won’t sound like change will

but unresponsive to Greg too, I’d wondered, who’d poured his Spanish heart into the angel’s ear, maybe wax from the makeup, he’d thought

for a moment then the angel remained a sculpture, still, and in character, and of stone

then with deep generous eyes that slowly he opened, heavy with the weight, I thought, of maybe the very world, he peered deep into my own

beautiful, I responded, beautiful, the only word I could utter in exalted admiration

then in English, clear and reverberant, like an oracle, I thought, for us all to understand and behold, he replied, simply but wondrously, cryptically enough indeed but with great portent, thank you

to which I could only add, amen