An Angel of the Lord Appears to a Newspaper Columnist

Economy, Media, Poetry

Essentially agnostic, he believes
the moral universe is of a kind
with the bureaucratic and efficient mind.
His is all incentives and reprieves.
He likes the rich. The poor are mostly thieves.
His paradise is just a well-designed
forced savings scheme, a contract signed,
less what the soul deserves than what it achieves.
If, alone, an angel of God most high
appeared to him beside a shallow stream
while on his way, a man in form, but bright
and terrible, he wouldn’t strive; he’d try
to reason the miracle down to just a dream,
the honor modest, the pleasure real, but slight.

8 thoughts on “An Angel of the Lord Appears to a Newspaper Columnist

  1. “appeared to him beside a shallow stream”
    Is there an allusion here I’m missing?
    If not, then the “stream” would seem to be flowing purely for the sake of the rhyme scheme.
    So I’m hoping I’ve missed the allusion. “By the waters of Babylon” doesn’t really fit, and I don’t think you’re familiar with “The Brook Kerith”, and of course, I think we can rule out the Afton.

  2. Mea culpa. But in my defense, while my friends were learning Hebrew for their Bar Mitzvah recitations, I was busy learning Labor Zionist folksongs.

    Anyway, thanks for the gloss. Your characterization is technically well-wrought and effective – I’m quite sure your columnist is the great-grandson of that lovely lady who smoothed her hair with automatic hand and put a record on the gramophone.

  3. OT – Congrats on the kind words from Wolcott. He’s been around a long time and there’s no particular reason for him to drum you up so far as I can see. The only question now is the role you will fill – Waugh, Amis, Burgess? It will be interesting to see how it plays out …

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