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Our Distrust of Angels and Their Radiant

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Our Distrust of Angels and Their Radiant
Here are two prose-poems that put 'angels' in quite different perspectives.

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FATIGUE AND WISDOM

We come to this mountain late

In laggard wonder

and atrophied awe

in distrust of the prompting of angels,

-Roger White, Notes Postmarked The Mountain of God, 1992, p.9.





Eagerly they leaned forward for they

were planning big things, big things.,

redoubling their efforts for that green

opposite shore where disappointment

would be their’s again. You’d think

they’d know by now not to be excited

in victory nor despondent in defeat.



They’d seen those pearl-promising waves

before, many times, and it always tasted

of untold wealth. Somehow, they never

saw the danger. Soon the sea would be quiet

and that frenetic passivity would again

invade their solitude; strangers they’d

be again, alone on the sand, perhaps

hand in hand.



It’s not that He had lied, but that we

had gone in too fast and keen. The shock troops

had just left and it would take some time

to move in on them, for they were everywhere,

powerful and there were always more of them

and so few of us, so very few, discouragingly

meagre, on a great continental front from

frozen ice-bone to blazing arterial-fire in

the huge deserts of the south. We burned

out there, down and out; we nearly died,

but crawled out back to life with bloodied head

and torn souls, some which never healed.



We move more slowly now, after those torrid years;

do not lean forward as eagerly, for you can only

redouble your efforts so many times before you

travel as fast as light and push the stone up the

mountain knowingly. Anyway, this time they’ve

rebuilt the mountain and we’ve found tears of

consecrated joy, amidst atrophied awe and a weary

wonder. You’d been to the peaks and got beaten,

good and proper. At least you’d tried.

Now you settle for life in the valleys and plains

and rarely lean forward to plan the really big things.

Civility has its own body language:

some call it fatigue.

28 December 1995

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FOREVER



It is vain to write on the seasons unless the seasons are in you. If they are not the words will have a paralysis in their tails. The poet wants to express thoughts and feelings as things physical. The body and the senses must conspire with the mind. Expression is the act of the whole man; it grows out of the person’s whole life, out of his sensuous involvement with and cultivation of life. The poet’s creation is his life; it is what he becomes through his work-not the poem, the artifact. Aim to produce what is as true, inevitable and deep as a hillside. The impetus for writing is not so much the overflowing of life but life’s subsidence. -Victor Carl Friesen,The Spirit of the Huckleberry: Sensuousness in Henry Thoreau, University of Alberta Press, 1984.





The mist is rising

and I am going in. Called in

past an endless wild beauty,

past those mysterious blackboys,

the kangaroo-paws stunning,

the dancing spider orchids,

the banksia, queen of the bush,

the jacaranda, I saw on the road,

on my way to angels, a rank, radiant

as light, joyous confusion, lifting:

was this the point of entry, marked

by richness almost gold, taste-seen

in the whispering of branches up there

so high, an evanescent grace....

hummingbirds and butterflies forever?



It all subsides, quiet, softly at the edges,

astonishment leaves at the door

as I unpack my books and peel the spuds.

Gazing down the black drain hole

nature’s beauty and the intricacies

of existentialism slip on the peelings.

The sense of eternity, the reaching

for immortality dull-thuds, competes

with the ordinarily ordinary and loses,

goes back into the sky, past those grey clouds,

as I make meat, spuds and two veg

and washing dishes forever.





Ron Price

16 June 1995