This poem was written by kestrels_nest after reading "Moulting" and is posted here as a freebie. So far there are three more poems in this subthread of the series: "After the Departure," "Redemption" (another freebie by kestrels_nest), and "The Fledging." Watch for those to appear as sponsorship progresses.
I am really enjoying the amount of audience participation that this series engenders. It's fun to see people mulling over the various bird species and what they mean, the transformation from one spiritual or physical state to another, and the characters' experiences.
The priest stood
Leaning against the vestry wall
Watching the newly fledged angel sleep.
Any birth was exhausting,
Not to mention painful and confusing,
This one perhaps more so than most.
Maybe the stories were mistaken, he mused.
Maybe devils had not begun as angels
Who had defied G*d
And fallen into Hell.
Maybe angels had begun as devils
Or something too self-focused
To be aware of G*d,
And fallen up
When they learned to perceive.
It would make sense, he thought.
They would have
A visceral understanding
Of suffering, and of pain.
They might have empathy
For those who most needed
The assistance of angels.
There was no question
The young man sleeping
Wrapped in sparrow's wings
And glowing faintly to the inner eye
Had been a devil.
The priest had seen
The burnt, brick-red skin
And the talons that had melted
Into finger and toe nails
As he rubbed in
The consecrated oil.
How blessed he was,
That this grace had been sent to his church!
The priest would let this newly born creature sleep,
And feed him when he woke --
He didn't know what angels ate,
But G*d would provide.
He smiled a little at himself,
But if this angel needed
To be comforted and held,
If he needed to sleep,
Then it made sense to think
He would need to eat,
And obviously he had not fledged
Knowing how to live on Earth.
But the new angel had earned his wings.
Of that the priest had no doubt.
The angel could live in the rectory
While he learned the rest.
He went to check the donation box
For clothing to fit a slender young man
Choosing a shirt that he could alter
To make room for the wings,
Humming as he went for scissors
And needle and thread.
G*d mediated grace,
But still needed physical hands
To do His work.
The priest could provide those
And serenely leave the rest
To holy wisdom
And another day.