I have been in fear of angels all my life.
When I began writing poetry in my early teens, and then as a published poet, those stalking, talking giant eagles of prey would pop up in my most contrived and pretentious pieces. They would not appear as they do in popular fiction, but as terrible landscapes of knowledge and pity. Knowing too much, knowing what you're designed for makes you deadly. Angels, like the most deadliest disease, know everything about the place they invade, and know their purpose. There is no cure.
And I've known many angels in my life-time. Forgiving, cocksure and brisk, they walk through life in complete control, their wings hidden but never clipped. Always on the look out for a hopeless cause to stuff with hope, they walk our grey earth.
The first angel I ever saw was in a dream. I had just got into bed and closed my eyes, when I felt a floating sensation. I felt my self rise higher and higher. I could actually feel my cheek brushing against clouds as I soared, and I felt pure, intense joy. I could still feel myself in bed, too, and was conscious of the fact that my eyes were brimming with tears as the joy intensified. I was crying into my pillow.
Suddenly, an angel blocked my way. No longer soaring, I lay still, waiting...waiting as impatiently as a Forumla 1 driver at a pit-stop. Its wings stood closed, with the long tips of the feathery extensions drooping over broad, naked shoulders. The androgenous face was smiling, the lashless eyes unsmiling. Dark pools of liquid, giving the onlooker the feeling that if one were brave enough to venture closer, all one would see reflected would be sin personified.
And I was definitely a sinner. No doubt about that.
It beckoned to me.
No, erase that. It pulled me. Yanked me from my floating serenity and looked at me with glass eyes.
Of all the men and women you have loved, it said to me in a lullably voice, there is one that you haven't loved enough.
Before I could even nod to signal I knew the answer, my own mind breathed:
The halo covered head tilted appreciatively to one side, acknowledging the veracity of my response. It pulled out another smile from between the two full, red lips.
I signalled upward. Now can I go?
The herald shook that terrible all-knowing countenance, still bent sideways. Get back down and write, it commanded, certain in the knowledge that there was no choice.
And there is no choice for me. I don't get to choose between the word thought and the word written. For a writer, the word itself is the strangest angel of all. If it comes into being in the mind, it does not sit well in the confines of that womb. The writer has to bring it out, kicking and screaming sometimes, and rock it to sleep in a paper cradle.
The angels know only too well that I don't do writing, writing does me.