On Angels / Czeslaw Milosz

ekasia by michelle red elk


All was taken away from you: white dresses,
wings, even existence.
Yet I believe you,
messengers.

There, where the world is turned inside out,
a heavy fabric embroidered with stars and beasts,
you stroll, inspecting the trustworthy seams.

Short is your stay here:
now and then at a matinal hour, if the sky is clear,
in a melody repeated by a bird,
or in the smell of apples at the close of day
when the light makes the orchards magic.

They say somebody has invented you
but to me this does not sound convincing
for humans invented themselves as well.

The voice - no doubt it is a valid proof,
as it can belong only to radiant creatures,
weightless and winged (after all, why not?),
girdled with the lightning.

I have heard that voice many a time when asleep
and, what is strange, I understood more or less
an order or an appeal in an unearthly tongue:

     day draws near
     another one
     do what you can.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

can the poet give us guidance as to the term "ekasia" ? is there meant to be a connection between the word, ekasia, and the poem ?? does the term, ekasia, have other meanings apart form the poem ???

Do words "mean"......

Aralee Strange said...

unfortunately, the poet died in 2004, and cannot speak to the juxtaposition of poem and imagery, but the visual artist says ekasia means red feather (eka=red; sia=feather). comanche medicine people use eagle feathers (among many other totems, including red paint*) to heal, to comfort, to protect (ward off evil spirits, etc.). white people have angels. both cultures have invented spiritual concepts expressed in rituals, and both invoke visuals of birds, feathers, magical messengers from beyond "girdled with the lightning." the poet was eastern european catholic, the artist is comanche pagan/christian/? but the message seems similar: "day draws near, another one, do what you can."

*while the visual depiction of the feather is not red, the color red is used by the artist in imagery of medicine people.

Anonymous said...

ahh, i MISSED the fact that the poem was not also by Michelle ---
Czeslaw Milosz kind of got obscured for me up there, above the feather.... thnx for the head's up!

Aralee Strange said...

yeah, the blue font has been giving me problems (old eyes) when the computer screen isn't tilted just right, one can hardly see the title. we're going to fix that. once again, comments very helpful.

Anonymous said...

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came a cropper

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evermore