Angel Unaware: Poems

Angel Unaware: Poems

by Victoria Carroll

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781467044981
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Publication date: 11/28/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 116
File size: 512 KB

Read an Excerpt

Angel Unaware

Poems
By Victoria Carroll

AuthorHouse

Copyright © 2011 Victoria Carroll
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4670-4499-8


Chapter One

History, not wanted yet, Lean'd on her elbow, watching Time, whose course, Eventful, should supply her with a theme;

-William Cowper, "Yardley Oak"

    The Observing Angel Witnesses a Sudden Change

           I


    On temporal assignment from heaven's regal place
    and atmosphere, I found the surroundings here
    at first to be quite pleasant. I perched beside
    a river with four mouths; its babbling sound
    reminded me of home, stilled and soothed my mood.
    Watching those two was easy-they didn't do much;
    mostly they walked in the garden or merged into one.
    So I ignored them, preferring to watch the animals.
    Enthralled by the song of wrens in luscious trees,
    I missed the one event that changed my lot-
    or their lot, really-mine by occupation. Ranks
    above me, two cherubim stood guard beside
    the garden's gate-and we-outside! barred
    from feasting on the fragrant tree of life, whose scent
    was peaches, pears, and apples all in bloom.


          II

    The humans were always talking about their sin
    (which word itself means nothing I understand),
    and how an offering of blood covers it.
    I took a knife to my own skin one time
    and found no fluid there, much less the red
    liquid I see when lambs are slain. I'm like
    the turnips and squash that Cain offered to God.
    (I know because I sliced them when he left,
    angry that God refused them, demanded blood.)
    I'll give you blood, I heard Cain think. I observed
    him watch Abel's fluid drain like sap
    onto the well-plowed ground; then he planted him.
    Was he trying to grow him back, or cover the deed?
    Like those from Eden he was banished, but marked for life.


    Eve's Confession

    I could tell
    the fruit would taste delicious:
    its smell
    lingered in the perfect breeze
    to tease
    my hunger, my appetite for sweet
    fruit, dripping
    of juice. I hesitated a brief
    spell like the falling
    of a leaf. It was too great-
    this promise
    to know all things, to be
    as God
    in full command of all.
    That call
    seemed louder than his words.
    For a moment
    I forgot we had permission
    to eat
    of every other tree-even life.

    In my hand
    the fruit lay heavy, pregnant
    with sweet
    and promising juice. I tasted.
    While the pulp
    was still on my tongue, I gave
    to Adam.
    He tasted. And, behold!
    We knew
    much more than we did before.
    A stirring
    twinge, a tingle rose in me
    when I saw
    Adam's ... excellent ... root.
    I blushed
    to see my own body, there,

    so bare.
    I had to cover the bushy
    hair between
    my legs; my breasts were ...
    full and
    longing. Aroused by this
    new feeling,
    we kissed. There was a-
    guilt?-
    though I don't know why:
    married,
    we are supposed to yearn,
    (aren't we?)
    with sweet anticipation
    for one another,
    enjoy becoming one, but now this
    lacked something
    that was there before, though we tried
    to get it back.

    Then God called us in the garden
    and we hid.
    I'm sure he knew what we did,
    though he asked-
    perhaps to see if we would
    admit our deed.
    At his voice, we trembled.
    The knowledge
    we'd gained has bound us; less than before,
    we're not as God.
    Oh, that bloody carcass of the lamb
    he slew and skinned
    for us, to cover what we had sought
    to hide with leaves,
    poorly stitched and insufficient!-
    First to die.
    After our exile, cursed in work
    and childbirth
    with sorrow and death, I'm not at all
    convinced

    that it was worth it to eat that fruit.
    No matter
    how I spit, I cannot get
    its taste,
    now bitter, from off my tongue.
    My stomach burns
    even yet with its juice, the pulp
    heavy and hard
    like a stone in my hand.


    Cain's Confession

    One moment my brother-standing
    upright in the field, insisting,
    Our God requires blood

    to cover sin
. The next-
    prostrate on the ground, breath
    and blood escaping with a sigh.

    And I-crouching over him
    pawing the bloody dust
    to cleanse my hands. Then-

    Mother, clutching her breast
    to suppress a shriek, rivers of dew
    on her ashen cheeks. Later-

    Father, squeezing his fists to stone,
    pounding the air: But for the mark
    I'd kill you
; then tears for me,

    O, my firstborn son.


    To Fill the Earth

    At first I found it strange, the way
    the female human divides
    to multiply. She pushes forth
    from there between her legs

    a little replica-of father
    or of mother; she calls it child,
    is cumbered with its care until
    it grows full size. The man

    seems to think he plays a part
    in this. I've never seen
    a baby angel, and wonder why
    my Master made enough of us
            but not of them.

A Long Walk


I was there when Enoch walked with my Master.
I didn't find his disappearance a disaster,
though his family and friends
searched for him
as if they thought some harm snatched him from them.

What I found strange: his fiery speech
which seemed to be a grave attempt to teach
that God would come
with chosen ones
to make a final judgment of all humans.

Of all who heard, but one gave heed:
a young man, Noah, third from Enoch grown.
He seemed to comprehend that speech
and wondered not
when Enoch walked
beside my Master from earth to home.

    The Angel Learns To Swim

    When my Master came down to talk to Noah of ships,
    or rather, one big ship and lots of rain-
    enough to fill the earth, not even I
    could comprehend this thing called rain, or flood.

    But when it came-huge water drops from heaven,
    and gushing streams from out the earth's deep core,
    I fled to the highest peak of the mountain range
    and watched the people scramble for higher ground.

    No one saw me that day when I hid on the cliff
    toward which they climbed. In the distance, the ark rose
    and dipped in the storm, but never tipped or capsized.
    I watched humans reach for rocks, for hands extended

    to help. Some were too weak to swim or float,
    were swept away while others clung to trees
    or one another. I have to admit that I wanted
    to assist them, but could not, restrained by my Maker's charge.

    Horses and cattle and sheep all struggled to hold up
    their heads, going under as often as men. Even vultures
    which perched on bodies that floated seemed only to care
    about breathing, too tired to eat. Trees came uprooted,

    rocks were dislodged from their place. When the turbulent water
    rose to my feet, I flung my wings in resignation.
    I could watch no longer, doing nothing. I swam to the ark,
    clung on for safety and watched the humans sink.

    Thereafter, colors in the sky, and this: the eating
    of slain animal bodies called meat, decree
    to kill whoever killed a man, command
    to fill the earth again with human flesh.


    Confession of a Wife Separated at Babel

    I'll never forget the day we almost reached heaven
    with our tower of bricks and slime for blocks and mortar.
    The sound of words split air like rock hit hard, sent
    bits of shard scattering. I heard you speak, my love,

    but what you said I couldn't understand. (I'd never heard
    those syllables before-and that accent!) Confounded,
    I had no choice: I joined with those whose speech
    I recognized. Bewildered, how was I to know

    my children's children would war against yours?
    How was I to know that generations hence would still find
    speech a barrier, strong as a wall, high as our tower?
    How was I to know you still loved me? All I heard was

    hâmôn
    tieng am ý
    ruido
    noise



    The Angel Observes Impulsive Behavior

    I have not even one name that I can share,
    but Abraham had two names-and so did Sarah.
    I don't know why my Master altered their names:
    the visible part of them remained the same.

    Strange how they often changed their minds and hearts:
    Take Hagar. Later, She's spiteful, make her depart.
    Or Abram: Say you are my sister, not my wife.

    When the long-awaited son experienced strife
    from the first-born son of hand-maid Hagar's womb-
    Cast Hagar out, and her unruly son.

    A fellow angel talked to her by the well,
    and by the fountain earlier; the words swelled
    in me, being prohibited. My lips aren't made
    to speak in human sounds. But I was shade.


    Ishmael's Complaint as the Other Son

    I don't know what her problem was-old woman-
    kicking me out with my mother, chasing us into
    the desert to die. But we fooled her, fooled
    them all. My mother said that God told her
    I would become a nation, my hands against
    every man, and every man's hand against me.
    Well, why not? How else can I rule-fulfill
    the place decreed? Still, I would like to see
    my father's face again, if only for a moment,
    would like to say to him, my fist raised:
    You sacrificed me to the desert but I survived,
    found my own mountains to climb, and I'm strong.

    He's all wrapped up in Sarah's kid, now,
    who is, I suppose, halfway at least, my brother.


    Burnt Offering

    I still ponder (even now) the reason to offer
    lambs or rams as sacrifice, but when
    my Master told Abraham to take his son-
    his only son by Sarah-to the altar
    and slay him there upon Moriah's mount,
    I thought I'd heard amiss. It could not be
    that God would ask this thing. And yet, he-
    Abraham-chopped the wood, then mounted
    saddled donkeys, and off they went three days.
    (I followed them unseen, amazed to look.)
    Abraham told two men to wait; he took
    elements of sacrifice. When Isaac asked, he raised
    his head toward heaven, sighed, "God will provide
    himself a lamb for this burnt sacrifice."

    I saw his body tremble at the coming task.
    The son, wood shouldered, went obediently,
    and even, bound and laid, refused to ask
    another question. (I thought this contradictory
    to orders to murder no man.) Knife raised, Abraham
    readied himself. Well-timed, my acquaintance spoke
    and Isaac's life was spared. Instead they offered
    a ram caught in the thicket. Was this the hope
    of Abraham? (Still, today, I ponder that event
    and wonder-unsure, unable to understand,
    not allowed to know: why'd my Master demand
    this thing?) Yet, Abraham seemed lighter when he went
    back down that mount, weighing what his God had meant:
    as many seeds as stars exist, and sand.


    Rebekah's Confessions

           I


    I never dreamed he'd ask me to be the wife
    of his master's son, when I offered, at the well, to water
    his ten camels and him. It seemed the right
    thing to do. I was pleased to learn the family
    connection and his commission to find a bride.
    A faithful cousin ... and my chance to get away
    from the tribesman here whom I was supposed to wed
    (though no official announcement yet was made).
    So I said Yes, I'd go with him without
    delay
. The journey was jolting, hot and dry,
    and I grew weary of the endless camel ride.
    But when I saw Isaac walking from the well to meet me,
    I leapt to his arms and never regretted I went
    that long and dusty distance to live in his tent.


          II

    When Isaac favored Esau, I imparted all
    maternal care to Jacob. I saw in him
    our family's future. I well remember the night
    the angel spoke to me, when the boys fought
    within my womb: "The second will rule the first."
    At first I lacked the heart to tell Isaac
    that Esau sold the birthright for a bowl of beans.
    Later I wished I had. He would have known,
    then, why I schemed with Jacob-the taste
    of goat for deer, the feel of animal hair
    for skin, the smell of Esau's garments speaking
    Jacob's voice. Too late, Esau learned
    even another wife could not restore
    the firstborn right of promise: holy seed.

The Observing Angel Questions Human Planting

What is this force which humans express to one another? It seems to draw them together like the power the earth has to hold things down; but it's not identical with them. For example, Jacob desired (that's the word he used) Rachel. When her father gave him Leah instead, he claimed he'd been defrauded, though he ended up with four women, twelve sons, many daughters.

What makes the females replicate is still a mystery to me-it's not a matter of will or willingness; nor does it seem to be a result of the man's desire, for I heard Jacob shout at Rachel, "Am I God, who has withheld your fruitfulness?" as if this replication was like a field sown with seed that should bring forth plants.

The last time Rachel's body split, her breath went out like wind when the storm has passed, and only a hush remained-son of my sorrow. "No-son of my right hand, child of old age," Jacob claimed.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Angel Unaware by Victoria Carroll Copyright © 2011 by Victoria Carroll. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

An Angel Travels Across Human Time to Observe History Unfold....................3
The Observing Angel Witnesses a Sudden Change....................7
Eve's Confession....................8
Cain's Confession....................11
To Fill the Earth....................12
A Long Walk....................13
The Angel Learns To Swim....................14
Confession of a Wife Separated at Babel....................15
The Angel Observes Impulsive Behavior....................16
Ishmael's Complaint as the Other Son....................17
Burnt Offering....................18
Rebekah's Confessions....................19
The Observing Angel Questions Human Planting....................20
Leah's handmaid, Zilpah, considers the Images stolen from Laban by his daughter, Rachel....................21
Reuben's Aged Wife Confesses the Secret....................22
Angels in Conference....................23
Cutting Off....................27
Blood Mark....................28
A Young Girl Remembers Crossing Over....................29
Wilderness Questions....................30
The Angel Ponders the Furniture for the Big Tent....................31
Pleading with Sword and Fire....................36
A Consuming Fire....................37
The Angel Questions Human Rituals....................38
Rahab's Profession....................39
Confession of an Israelite in love with Jephthah's daughter....................40
Declaration of a Distraught Wife....................41
The Observing Angel Ponders the Human Condition....................42
Confession of Manoah's Wife....................43
A King To Come....................47
A Stone's Throw....................48
Bread for Priests....................49
Confession of One of David's Three Valiant Men....................50
In the Fullness of Time....................51
Bathsheba's Confession....................52
Record of the conversation between David and Araunah in the day the plague was stayed after David numbered the people....................53
On Leave, the Angel Reports to the Throne Room Before Returning to His Post of Duty on Earth....................54
The Observing Angel at a Complete Loss....................55
Captivity Summarized....................56
A Royal Robe Discarded....................61
For a Season....................62
The Angel's Ode to Ordinary Phenomena....................63
True Colors....................64
Confession of a Woman Taken in Adultery....................65
Judas Iscariot Speaks on the Way to Collect the Cash....................66
The Angel Ministers....................67
The Angel Ponders the Severed Ear....................68
Confession of a Soldier in the Court....................69
Statement of a Soldier at Golgotha....................70
The Angel Ponders the Absence of Angels....................71
The Angel Gives an Answer....................72
The Son's Proclamation on the Appointed Morning....................73
Confession of Thomas....................74
As Angels Move....................75
The Angel Witnesses Pentecost....................79
The Angel's Ode to Crossed Identity....................80
An eye-witness account of the miracle that happened to Agrippa in AD 44....................81
Confession of One of Nero's Unknown Maidens....................82
The Angel Ponders Church History....................83
Confession of a woman looking back to childhood in Selma, Alabama....................84
The Angel in Despair....................85
Voices call out from their battlefields....................86
Memo from the Despairing Angel....................91
Response to Request for Transfer or Leave....................92
Testimony of a deaf woman who bridges twentieth- and twenty-first centuries....................93
Angel meditation after hearing a 21st century Enoch-style sermon....................94
The Angel Senses a Coming Change....................95
The Angel Takes a Forward Look, Superimposed....................96
Parting Announcements....................101

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