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Icon of the Day - 18th June

Questions About Angels

BY BILLY COLLINS

Of all the questions you might want to ask

about angels, the only one you ever hear

is how many can dance on the head of a pin.

No curiosity about how they pass the eternal time

besides circling the Throne chanting in Latin

or delivering a crust of bread to a hermit on earth

or guiding a boy and girl across a rickety wooden bridge.

Do they fly through God's body and come out singing?

Do they swing like children from the hinges

of the spirit world saying their names backwards and forwards?

Do they sit alone in little gardens changing colors?

What about their sleeping habits, the fabric of their robes,

their diet of unfiltered divine light?

What goes on inside their luminous heads? Is there a wall

these tall presences can look over and see hell?

If an angel fell off a cloud, would he leave a hole

in a river and would the hole float along endlessly

filled with the silent letters of every angelic word?

If an angel delivered the mail, would he arrive

in a blinding rush of wings or would he just assume

the appearance of the regular mailman and

whistle up the driveway reading the postcards?

No, the medieval theologians control the court.

The only question you ever hear is about

the little dance floor on the head of a pin

where halos are meant to converge and drift invisibly.

It is designed to make us think in millions,

billions, to make us run out of numbers and collapse

into infinity, but perhaps the answer is simply one:

one female angel dancing alone in her stocking feet,

a small jazz combo working in the background.

She sways like a branch in the wind, her beautiful

eyes closed, and the tall thin bassist leans over

to glance at his watch because she has been dancing

forever, and now it is very late, even for musicians.

***



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Image: Three angels hosted by Abraham, Ludovico Carracci (c. 1610-1612), Bologna, Pinacoteca Nazionale

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In St Mary’s prayer cycle for June 2020, today we pray for those with mental health conditions who do not understand why they cannot see friends or family as before.

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If you would like to contribute to these reflections, please do email Katherine Cox at kvcox-therapy@gmail.com

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To keep up to date with how we continue the life of St Mary’s in these difficult times – including our ‘Icons of the Day’, Fr Jeff’s and Fr Piotr’s pastoral letters and reflections, weekly Zoom services and more – do please ‘like’ our Facebook page and bookmark our website www.stmarytwick.org.uk

St Mary's Church
Twickenham

020 8744 2693

administrator@stmarytwick.org.uk

finance@stmarytwick.org.uk

buildings@stmarytwick.org.uk

Church Office hours: 9-11am, Mon-Fri

Church Street

Twickenham

TW1 3NJ

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