So I didn’t blog in 2017, and I make no promises about 2018.
But I’ve decided that I must share one of my all-time favourite poems. I can’t spell out all of my reasons for doing this — there is subtext here — but I can give you one reason. It’s a truly beautiful poem and I love it.
Adrian Plass is a well-known religious writer, and I discovered his books back when I was religious myself. After I abandoned religion I pruned some books from my shelves, but — babies and bathwater — some things are worth keeping. Versions of the following poem can be found in at least two different books, showing that the author continued to work on it after the initial publication; my version is based on the one included in the book An Alien at St Wilfred’s (1992). I’ve made a couple of very small changes and punctuated afresh — it’s a poem for reading aloud, not for scanning from a page, so punctuation is arbitrary.
The poem is called “Angel”, and it is subtly religious, but you absolutely do not have to be religious yourself in order to love this poem to bits. Immediately below is an audio version I recorded early in 2017. Please wear headphones to listen to this because it’s binaural and I want you to hear me speaking softly into your ears.
For discussion: if it speaks to you too, what other poetry do you know that is as beautiful as this?