Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Angel Gabriel Haunts My Tuesday

Yesterday morning, on Facebook, I saw this image of the Annunciation--what a neat woodcut (linoleum cut, I would find out later):

I went to Beth's site for a fascinating post--with more pictures of the process!--of how she came to create this image.  It was a good reminder that even though a creative project may not come together right away, it doesn't mean we're done with it or it with us.

Later in the morning, a different Facebook friend posted this image, to which she credits L Wallnau:

I thought of the angel Gabriel yet again.  I thought of invitations because my friend wrote this:

Some called to dress the bride
Others to prepare her
while a small company sent out with invitations

I thought of Gabriel as an engraved invitation.  I thought of what it would take to get our attention these days.  Angel choirs might get our attention, if we could hear them.  I think of students on Monday who walked right past me while I asked, "Do you have your schedule?  Check in here please"--their ear buds prevented awareness of all sorts.

Would we follow a star?  Would we study the skies long enough to realize that a new star had appeared?

Yes, I've tilled this ground before--and last night, when I tried to write a poem inspired by these images, I wrote a passable poem, but nothing special.  Still, it's a poem.

I wrote it as I waited in the Registrar's office for students to come pick up schedules or hold sheets.  One of my colleagues saw me in yet a different place and asked, "How many hats are you wearing these days?"  Lots of hats.  Would I rather be wearing a beautiful gown?

Ah, but I am a sturdy sort, running up and down the stairs, trying to help solve a wide variety of problems:  sort of like this image, but not really:

I would need a sturdy gown.  Can one have sturdiness along with swirls?

Yesterday, I also read January Gill O'Neil's Misery Islands, a book of poems which celebrates sturdiness of all sorts.  I read it straight through, during a quiet time as I staffed the Registrar's desk after evening classes had started.  What a great book!

What's neat is that I read about some of the poems as they were being written. January's blog is one that I follow regularly.  I was interested to see the poem cycle about the islands, and I wasn't disappointed.

In the quiet of the evening, I was able to blaze through some of the work tasks I can't get to in the hubbub of the day; I don't really mind being the evening administrator one day each week.  In the quiet of the evening, I thought about the angel Gabriel again. 

Suddenly this morning, I have an idea for a poem that might be different:  the angel Gabriel roams a college campus.  But it's not a bucolic campus--no it's a commuter school, people cramming in classes after work, or before working the graveyard shift.  The annunciation, but the Mary figure isn't the traditional beauty--no, she's tired beyond belief, and she can't believe that God would choose her.  Why not go to Harvard to choose a better mother candidate?  Go haunt the halls of privilege!

Of course, my favorite Bible stories show us time and time again that God appears in the midst of the poor and powerless, far from the halls of power and privilege.  But will we have ears and eyes to hear?


Beth said...

Oh, Kristin, what a treat to read your post this morning. I hope you'll write that poem about Gabriel and the busy, commuter campus. And also that you'll find a sturdy gown with swirls...I want one too! Seriously, I think it's important and fascinating to re-think these stories in a modern context. Maybe Phoenicia should do a chapbook of new Annunciation poems and images -- would you be interested?

Kristin said...

I would be so very interested in a chapbook of Annunciation poems and images--as a participant, especially, or as an editor, or as part of a team--or, simply as a reader. But more so as part of the chapbook--yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. I'm tempted to end my reply by quoting what Mary said to the angel Gabriel, but I would be afraid that it wouldn't adequately convey my hope and enthusiasm.

Prov31 said...

For over 32 years I have declared in my quirky prophetic form of blesser intercession that God does send his messengers before his announce his arrivals... Often they are angelic but most frequently they come in the most unexpected forms of those outsiders like John the Bapist or perhaps unassuming fashion faculty... Declare prepare the way...

Yes, she still rides in on donkeys... it's like looking for Waldo... Jesus is ALWAYS there... Psalm 139 even when we feel as if our bed is in hell...

I have re defined myself... This Blesser Intercessor is an encourager... That is one who imparts courage...
Your favorite person on the wall... Not off it
Kathy ��