Time for Angels by Homero Aridjis, Francisco Toledo (Illustrations)

Time for Angels by Homero Aridjis

Poetry and angels. A fabulous Mexican poet. It sounds inspiring, right? Well, it is, but the inspiration is uncertain, ambivalent, and mysterious. I know there is something there, something important and spiritual, but I’m not sure–it’s beyond my human understanding. Maybe that is the point of many of these poems.

Aridjis’s passion for the environment clearly comes through. He is a pioneering environmental activist, and has led the fight to save the “habitat of monarch butterflies, Pacific gray whales, and sea turtles” in Mexico.

It is noon. In the perfect silence, the sound 
of a chainsaw is heard advancing toward us, 
shearing wings and felling trees. Man, with his thousand 
naked and hungry children, comes howling his needs
and shoving fistfuls of butterflies into his mouth.

The angel says nothing.

or

The eight o’clock sun opens up a secret that slept
perched on the trunks of the trees.
and there is a breeze of wings, rivers of butterflies in the air.
Visible through the bushes, the souls of the dead
can be felt with the eye and hand.

The intelligence of the Earthis well beyond the mind
The earth thinksoutside man’s head
The earth’s mind envelopslike air, like light.

His angels remind me of the celestial creatures of Wim Wender’s amazing film Wings of Desire. They are present in our lives—in the invisible recesses of our loneliness, despair and mundane bitterness. They are in our modest rooms and on our bustling streets. They are silent and seem inside us as well as outside.

It took me a while to appreciate these poems and the amazing illustrations by Francisco Toledo. I read them and felt a little numbed or confused. But weeks later their power remained with me. I reread some of them and now can’t get the images out of my mind and the emotions or the butterflies out of my stomach.

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Joseph Raffetto

Joseph Raffetto earned a B.A. in Comparative Literature from San Diego State University. He can be found online @noovella on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and Goodreads. His books are available on all online booksellers.