Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Angel's Flight

I am sitting here in an idle summer’s afternoon. I sit in the cool of my house while outside the temperature has reached into the nineties. In the background, Deva Premal is singing

Gate, gate,
Bodhi Swaha

I ponder on this yearning to be "gone, gone, truly gone, beyond into the essence, gone beyond, salutations to the wise who have gone beyond".

This is a Buddhist chant, one of the most famous. I dream of the meaning of these things.

My heart settles into a rhythm that calms me and lets the cares of this day fade. In the quietude I feel the rustle of wings.

The Angel's Flight

The blue angel flew.
The air awoke at her touch
and began to spin,
glowing spiral clouds
running before and behind
her flight above worlds,
all the tangled worlds
she passed in wonder, amazed
at the small flightless
folk who groaned below

and her tears, bright lights, began
to fall like fine rain.

June 27, 2009 4:28 PM


  1. Christopher! I love every bit of this post, how you sit there dreaming. And the poem; the air awoke at her touch. I love that line, it makes me softly spin in air filled with fine rain.

  2. To be in such calm is an awfully large gift. To be gone into the essence of beyond - I wonder, is that in the now or in the future? Surely this is not death, but a deeper understanding, right? Just checking:)

    Flightless groaning folk. Oh, it is hard to live amongst flightless groaning folk. Why is there so much groaning, mine included (too often)?


  3. Oh Erin, you ask the questions, the very questions. Surely the escape is not death? Why do we suffer? Exactly. If there were answers that were easy and certain then these questions would not now exist.

    These questions are implied in 30,000 year old cave paintings, where the risks of the hunt are made sacred in the attempt to rise above, to put down the consequences of failure and uncertainty. The wound has always implied certain death. The wound has always revealed the failure of our power in the face of uncertainty and made life in that sense unacceptable.

    The chancy part of life has ever revealed mortality and civilization has always been our demand that life's chanciness go away. Our mundane work has always involved taking and reducing those chances whenever we have had more energy than sheer survival demands.

    It is after we free ourselves in some sense and to sufficient degree that the energy for other more mundane, frivolous, or even high and deep activity arises. It is after this freedom is gathered that some of us have any time for poetry whatever it's status. Is poetry deep? Is poetry drivel? Who knows the answer? :D

    So surely "going beyond" means exactly that, the escape from the downside of things precisely without dying. And surely it is that there is no easy escape, that is why we groan, the common thread in our complaint, no matter all the myriad other things it might be.

  4. I like the poem, especially the imagery floating in the air around it. Thanks

  5. Anthony, I am glad to have you come back so often, my friend.

  6. "So surely "going beyond" means exactly that, the escape from the downside of things precisely without dying." I'm glad, for surely that is what it is for me, and selfishly I like to be in like company:)

    And I laugh, your picture of the bird included, we need to accept mortality and on with it. Ha! (and groan. and on and on with the poetry. ha!)


  7. I meant to come over earlier and say how much I liked this. I'm enjoying seeing pictures here, and this one with the blue angel is an especially luminous pairing.

    Your angel makes me think of Rilke, and the yearning to be gone, which isn't death but might be...

  8. Oh man! I know you mean well, but to mention me and Rilke in the same breath...


    That's too much expectation. I know I can't hit that level of poesy more than once in every quite a long time. But for that, what a kind thing to say.

    As for the way photos are appearing, that is strictly a matter of network piracy. If I couldn't piggyback a local wireless network, I could not add photos. If I did not find them out there somewhere on the internet, then the same. This is a meeting of two kinds of thievery.

    Have I mentioned that I am a thief?

    Even word ver. agrees: tomane. Sounds poisonous to me...:D


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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