Entertaining angels

From Hebrews 13:2“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

Breathe in
Breathe out
Still, now
Let the angels brush you
cool clear spirits dancing
across your skin

Breathe in
gilding the air as they still you
—lips, tongue, throat, lungs
limbs, organs, blood-heat, pulse-beat—
angels in your mind
tapping your fingers
dancing in your toes

Breathe out
release them
let them be borne off
on airy wings.

Breathe in — out.
You are ready, now, to entertain them
strange as they seem
syntax of fire and air.

They sail towards me on the harbour
white angels
skimming dawn-gilt waves

As I make coffee
they float—just through the window
and on the weekend
as I munch my toast
they race towards the Strait
white wings unfurled
skimming the dance-floor of the up-side-down sky.

Bright red and buzzing
like an anxious mother
the rescue angel
rotor-blades the sky
slicing the clouds

(Breathe in.  Breathe out.)

Do not forget them.
Do not forget the strangers
at your door
as you raise your glass
toast the new year
the past
the absent friends
the end of term
the auld acquaintances
—the birth of a long ago child.

Do not forget the strangers
in the crowd
the watchful ones
the furtive, awkward,
manic ones
in the advent of summer holidays, of
holy days

Do not forget
—as you laugh and embrace
and wish all well
and spill goodwill like crumpled wrapping paper
laugh at unfunny cracker jokes
and pull each other’s legs
as you thank the host
and season the feast with good cheer
that there are angels

answering phones, maybe
waiting to drive you home
offering refuge

Sometimes they come quietly
these entertaining angels
falling into your path
like stars
as the sun darkens
or —

with a blast of trumpets,
drumbeats, cymbals, castanets,
plucking the strings
of your heart,
harp, harpsichord, mandolin, cello
strumming and humming and
harping on
when you least expect them

nagging and clapping and
clicking their fingers to
snap you

tooting and hooting at your complacency
laughing your good intentions into action
looting your heart
for the strangeness lurking there
teasing and taunting
turning the stranger to friend
ruffling your feathers, tossing you to the winds
scooping you up, stroking you
with their wings.

Do not forget the heavenly host
coming in clouds of glory
brightening the air
spilling like stars, like champagne
skimming the sea
like yachts, like kites

skirting the crowds
searching the season
for strangers and welcomers
strumming and twanging and singing
frightening sheep, stunning the shepherds
spangling the sky

exhorting the earth to embrace
peace and goodwill
syntax of words and flesh

Spreading their wings
forming a Cross
pointing to west and east
as they light the path
to Bethlehem
—to Jerusalem, to Galilee
midwifing at the birth
foreshadowing resurrection.

Be not forgetful of angels.
Strange as they seem
entertain them:
let the cool spirits dance you.

Do not let them take you

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