James Scully  

 

The Angel of History

 

“His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are

spread.”

—Walter Benjamin

 

 

blown backwards

into the future

 

he beholds only

the past

dragging after him

 

what a catastrophe

the furious wind

hurls at feet

 

helpless before it

 

his wings are spread—

fanned flat

with the sharp snap

of terrified sails

 

how will he fold them

feather on feather

before the torrent

of shock waves from paradise?

 

him

on his wretched wings

helpless to help

anyone

or anything

 

what he shouts

is spittle

torn from his mouth

 

himself, ever only

a single breath ahead

of where he has been

 

where even now

 

the surge of broken bodies

is breaking over him

filling his eyes, his mouth, his ears

with creaturely whispers

 

crushing with love the wings

that have caught him up

in so much misery

 

 

 

 

—from Donatello’s Version, 2007

 


Donatello’s Version.jpg

Donatello's Version
Curbstone Press
2007