Accompanied by Angels

Stars and angels filled the night of Jesus' birth. Experience the miracle through poems about Mary and Christmas.

BY: Luci Shaw

 

The Annunciatory Angel

(

detail of Fra Angelico’s

The Annunciation)



The androgynous visitor is dressed


in a rosy fabric thick as pigment, the tunic


blown back by turbulence to expose its lining,


a blue crescent under the right arm. Angels


are said to be genderless, so there’s a certain


enigma. A wing, the clue to otherness,


arcs in golden space. We are



at several removes from the reality, reading


between the lines, speculating on Angelico’s


speculation. How does an angel look? We are not


Daniel or Zechariah; we have not been shown.


This rendering suggests not celestial power and radiance


but a weight of apprehension; what must be announced


will not be entirely easy news



Wind is part of the picture, gusts


whipping the robes and body along a stretch


of baroque carpet. Gabriel seems to be


advancing up an incline, laboring with


the imperative of message, hair flattened against scalp,


features tense, hands folded tight to the chest,


agitation or awe--it is hard to tell. We can’t see


the heart hammering in the unearthly body,


but the announcement the cracking open of a space


that encircles earth and heaven, must weigh


like a gold boulder in the belly.



How might it feel (if an archangel has feelings) to bear


this news? Perhaps as confounded as the girl, there


in the corner? We worry that she might faint.


Weep. Turn away, perplexed and fearful


about opening herself Refuse to let the wind


fill her, to buffet its nine-month seed into her earth.


She is so small and intact. Turmoil will wrench her.


She might say no.




The Overshadow

"...the power of the Most High will overshadow you..." - Luke 1:35

When we think of God, and


Angels, and the Angel,


we suppose ineffable light.



So there is surprise in the air


when we see him bring Mary,


in her lit room, a gift of darkness.



What is happening under that


huge wing of shade? In that mystery


what in-breaking wildness fills her?



She is astonished and afraid; even in


the secret twilight she bends her head,


hiding her face behind the curtain



of her hair; she knows that


the rest of her life will mirror


this blaze, this sudden midnight.



Continued on page 2: Glimmers from stars have flicked all year long... »

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