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  • The Painter of the Angels at Barton Turf

The Painter of the Angels at Barton Turf

Posted by Caroline Gilfillan on 28 September 2011 at 12:06

Tags: angels barton turf

Long hours I worked, late into nights
when the milk of the moon lit my hand.

I had a team of painters with me –
bright-eyed youngsters and solid men

calm and capable with their brushes –
but it was my hand that drew the lines

that coaxed the nine orders of angels
into this church set in rippling fields.

One day, it seemed, the angels were empty
shapes; the next dawn they’d arrived

with a whisper of feathers, a hiss of silk,
on the good, strong feet I’d drawn for them.

They came clothed in scarlet feathers,
white ermine, rose damask,

smelling faintly of incense and lilies,
of palm branches and ringing steel:

Seraphim, burning red with love;
golden Cherubim, all-seeing;

green-winged Thrones, Dominions,
blue Virtues; devil-scourging Powers;

Principalities, Archangels in armour,
and Angels guarding naked souls.

All this was eight centuries ago.
but still they glow in dappled light,

listening to prayers, readings and song,
and rooks and sparrows taking flight.

Caroline Gilfillan

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