Tuesday, 01 September 2009

   

 

KLEE'S ANGELS 

I. Angel in the Making 

How does one make an angel?
See, on the paper, how the lines assemble.
Not quite meeting, not quite making
The form that gives being.
Or is it not so simple?
Does one see here
Something impossible,
An immortal dissolving,
Becoming nothing? 

How hard it is
To bring the lines together
When one knows
(When one suspects)
The angel being made
Is the shape of one's own dying. 

II. Angel Still Groping 

It stirs about
Like a sea-creature
At the bottom of a pool.
It tries to tear aside
The veils of colour
Wherein I entrap it.
As it breaks through one
My brush weaves another.
It will never reach me, 

Yet it is strong, this angel,
Iron-limbed,
Harsh and hungry,
Ready to swallow
Whatever it is offered.
It wants to be fed -
That much is certain.
If it breaks through
This last veil of the spectrum
It will take me down
Into its own element. 

III. Forgetful Angel 

Sometimes they forget.
Sometimes they turn away -
But seldom, seldom.
It is true that I have seen them
Knotting the corners
Of their white nightdresses
To keep in mind
A task still to be done.
I have seen them knot their fingers
In the effort to remember. 

Always it comes back:
The telephone number,
Which house in the street
They were told to go to,
Which bell to press,
What name to ask for.

IV. Angelus Militans 

One can only draw it
As a child would,
Keeping the lines uncertain,
The shapes clumsy -
Two rolling eyeballs,
And a coy simper. 

It will complain about the likeness
But enter into
The crippled and crippling
Image of itself.
This keeps it from being dangerous.
One is able to converse with it. 

What one asks, of course,
Are a child's questions:
'What day will it be?
What will happen after?' 

V. Angel Still Female 

It is wrong to unsex them,
although they encourage it -
white uniforms,
badly-made wings,
flaming swords.
How can one guess,
at a first approach,
that these are female,
and thus flirtatious? 

A bunch of flowers,
a bag of sweets,
a lying word -
soon each of them is smiling. 

Then one begins to beckon.
'Follow,' she says,
'follow me
into the wood,
down to the ocean.' 

One dare not disobey.
One goes slowly,
just as slowly as one can,
scattering their portraits
like messages behind one.

       

This site was last updated 01-09-2009