Provoking angels unawares

In the comments to an earlier post, the question came up of what Luther means by “your holy angel” in his morning and evening prayers in the Catechism. Rather than answer this question myself, I refer the interested reader to the LCMS’s FAQ on this topic, and to Thomas’ rather less prosaic reply in the comments thread, with both of which I heartily concur. (Edit: Stephen G has added a very helpful comment as well in the same thread.)

But I would like to mention Scott Cairns’s poem Angels, from the collection Compass of Affection (which you have of course all purchased since I last mentioned it; for those who haven’t, it’s available with free delivery worldwide from here).

Cairns begins by contrasting how much has been said about angels with how little reliable information we actually have about them (and indeed the “pure indifference” they seem to show towards us), and continues:

Still, stories – never verifiable – persist:
the fortunate warning, the inexplicable swerve.

These insinuate themselves against our better
judgment, provide comfort beyond apparent cause.

There are other stories, after all, more somber
accounts of angelic intercourse: How, by force

of guile, a woman or a boy has been taken, made
an unwilling portal for some monstrosity

or one of many lies. This version I believe.
Angels are of two sorts; best not to provoke either.

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