Wings appear fragile
Yet carry an angel’s weight
To heaven and back.
And When I Die
by Leslie Noyes
When I die I pray someone will mourn; that a song so achingly sweet will be offered up, and
People will sob in response. I also want a celebration, though, a praise service with dancing in every aisle,
Worshipful arms upstretched to the heavens. God only knows where I will turn up. I have not
Lived a blameless life; how interminably boring that would be, But still, I think of the ecstasy of
Being taken up by a heavenly host of angels, rising on wings of gossamer, when I die.
Do I feel pity for them, the ones who languish down below? While I sail the updrafts,
Wings buffeted by opposing winds, they scurry about, these creatures tied by gravity and
Need to Earth’s secure illusion. Would I trade places with them for the prospect of
Lifelong love, slow sex on a rainy day, a five course meal with créme brulee as dessert?
Give up flight and walk on two spindly limbs for the whisper of a lover? I’d miss my wings.
Here’s another take on this by The Bard of Liminga:
Studly Doright and I married on July 30, 1976. We were young, in love, and profoundly broke. I hadn’t really noticed just how broke we were until our first Christmas rolled around.
We managed to buy a sad little tree, but we had no ornaments. I know now there existed women who could whip up some crafty ornaments using a mixture of baking soda, grape jelly, and crushed leaves, but I was not one of those women. And this was way before Pinterest.
My mother came to the rescue. She bought me two kits of do-it-yourself felt ornaments. At first I was overwhelmed. I couldn’t, and still can’t, sew, but I began working on the ornaments a little bit every evening, hanging them on the tree as I finished.
In the beginning there were twelve ornaments, but after 16 moves in 39 years of marriage a couple have gone missing. One wreath shaped ornament was last seen being tossed around by our Siamese cat, aptly named Holly. Said wreath had a decidedly bedraggled air before it disappeared for good around 1996. The other missing ornament just went A.W.O.L. one year, perhaps fearing it would meet a death similar to that of the mangled wreath.
My favorite of the lot are the scarecrow and the angel.
After my mom passed away I began collecting angels. Some are intricately carved, others beautifully crafted. A few were quite expensive. But this little felt angel, given to me that first Christmas of my marriage by my mother and sewn imperfectly by me, is the one I cherish most.
there is a diverse cluster of angels
arranged in an vague approximation
of a semi-circle on the third shelf
of a bookcase in my living room.
the tallest among the collection,
a beautiful Isabel Blume piece
soars among her sisters, holding
high a pink ribbon of survival.
a gift from my daughter, the angel
commands and deserves center stage.
her siblings provide clues to
places visited by my friends and me.
a brightly colored fabric angel hails
from guatemala. she is plump and
comforting and is the only seraphim
I know who sports black pigtails.
two cherubim, one tiny and one merely
small, serenely smile, clutching plaster
lambs to their white plaster chests.
another guatemalan angel, created from
old, rolled sheet music soundlessly
sings praises to heaven above.
there are several others gathered there,
some sitting on books. i imagine they
read late into the night so from time
to time i rearrange them for variety.
one inexplicably holds a marble. i have
no idea where the marble came from, but
it seems appropriate in the angel’s hands.
When a cowboy dies
the world sighs and God calls out
“come home son, and rest!”
“You’ve no more cattle
to brand, no roundups to ride,
come home son, and rest.”
“Your best horse awaits
ready for your gentle hand
ride home son, and rest.”
When a cowboy dies
loved ones cry, while angels sing,
“welcome home; now rest.”
I wrote this piece as a tribute to my husband’s Uncle, Frank Parker, who passed away this week. I didn’t have a photo of Uncle Frank, but actor Fess Parker (pictured above) was a cousin, and shared a lot of the same good genetic material.
Uncle Frank was a true cowboy from his early teenaged years in Pie Town, New Mexico, until his body just couldn’t do the work anymore. Not too many years ago Frank suffered a broken neck in a horse-related incident.
No one expected Frank to live, but he did, recovering fully and continuing to ride the range out near Albuquerque, New Mexico, on into his 80’s.
Uncle Frank was one hell of a tough man, and a real cowboy. He’s ridden on home now. May he truly find rest.