The Wounded Angel

This poem is a tribute to the Finnish painting Haavoittunut enkeli (1903) by Hugo Simberg.

Forsaken little angel fallen from grace

Bleeding in a lush glade, vulnerable and blind.

Her wings are wispy, fragile strokes of white

Her feathers crushed and blood-splattered.

Two unruly youths gathering firewood from the forest

Chance upon the angel sprawled in the clearing.

Moved by profound pity for the strange creature

They construct a stretcher to carry her broken body.

The steadfast bearers gently convey the burden

As they journey homeward, across frozen wastelands.

They fight past bloodthirsty wolves of liquid grace,

Past crude villagers who yearn to mercilessly cage her.

The angel slumps and bows her head in defeat

Wilted snowdrops still grasped firmly in her hand.

No one knows if she is a gift from the eternal sky,

Or a cursed sinner in disguise, flung from the heavens.

The foremost boy clad in clothes of mourning

Resolutely plunges ahead with eyes fixed on the road.

The boy behind stares accusingly from the canvas

As if blaming divinity, humanity, the viewer, the world.

A thousand unspoken meanings lurking behind the painting

Harshly juxtapose light and dark amidst a somber winter landscape.

An observer may believe her a victim of one's apathy, one's animosity

But I see a portrait of her fall from innocence, of their silent devotion.