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To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
auguries of innocence, excerpt
Your eyes are beautiful.
You know this because God said it and you know God to be truth. All that flows from His mouth is goodness and love and peace. The kingdom and the power and the glory are His. Forever and ever. He cannot lie. He would not lie.
Indeed, your eyes are beautiful, not for the glow of their grace, but for the scope of their vision. It is not what they are, but what they see. There is a purity in the way you look out across the vastness of Father's creation. Things that many of your brothers and sisters ignore and overlook are paramount to your understanding of existence itself. It is you who most fully takes in and glorifies in every bit of the handiwork of God and so it is you that is made his watchman. His sentinel. His 'spy', as some will come to call you. It is your duty to keep a vigil and report. Nothing should escape your gaze, though from time to time even you are imperfect. None may match the perfection of God, not even his angels.
You'll learn soon, very clearly, how imperfect they – and you – can be.
Life has dark secrets; and the hearts are few
That treasure not some sorrow from the world--
A sorrow silent, gloomy, and unknown,
Yet colouring the future from the past.
We see the eye subdued, the practised smile,
The word well weighed before it pass the lip,
And know not of the misery within:
Yet there it works incessantly, and fears
The time to come; for time is terrible,
Avenging, and betraying.
letitia elizabeth landon
”What does Father tell you?” you ask, eyes not leaving your work.
The silence that follows is familiar, comfortable. Raziel isn't one for idle speech which is fine by you. If you knew as much as he, you likely wouldn't speak so much either. What you know, more clearly than most things, is that you value these chats. Speaking to the archangel has taught you things that you never would have considered without him. It is not enough to simply look, to passively observe. One must truly see and understand what they're seeing or else what's the point?
'His hopes, his plans. His dreams.'
The voice is not careful, but certainly measured – Raziel never reveals too much. You respect that and in some ways it has drawn you to seek his company. In a heaven full of beings willing to fill in every detail, to instruct you in every jot and tittle of the eternal gospel, Raziel allows you to think for yourself. To question and wonder, even if only as a byproduct of his delicately fashioned words. You understand why he is this way. It is his duty, his work, to keep the secrets of creation.
”What are His plans for us?”
His answer is vague, his tone wry. You watch his expressions carefully, always searching for any hidden meaning in what he says, but as always all you find is the feeling that it must be difficult to hold so much inside.
It must feel heavy.
I shall imagine life
is not worth dying, if
(and when) roses complain
their beauties are in vain
but though mankind persuades
i shall imagine life
Your brothers and sisters whisper in hushed tones of disagreement when you are elevated from the ranks of the cherubim. It does not escape you, nor does it bother you. It simply is. It has never been your responsibility to pass judgment on that which you observe; you have no interest in such small-minded games. And there is no time for them, not today. Taking in the greatness of the universe is your only task and its corners are so wide. It is good that you are eternal, for your work will never cease. You live and let live, content to fill your days with the delight of discovery. The opinions of the others cannot outweigh God's will, no matter how many in number the rebels grow.
The added grace fills your body and you see as you've never seen before. The glory of God blows through your being and you are at once undone and transformed. What you were before is gone. No. No, what you were is simply...more. You are more yourself than you've ever been inside.
And on the outside...
A seraph, golden and glorious, with six wings that shine like fire. It feels incredible. In everything you witness, all of the wonders you behold, there is nothing like this. You are happy to trade the loneliness of being labeled a watchdog for all eternity to be privy to this kind of grace. The other angels can deal with their jealousy and pettiness and second guessing. You are chosen. You are worthy. No amount of criticism can take that from you.
You've never seen Raziel smile like that before.
So fallen! so lost! the light withdrawn
Which once he wore!
The glory from his gray hairs gone
Of all we loved and honored, naught
Save power remains;
A fallen angel's pride of thought,
Still strong in chains.
john greenleaf whittier
You feel it immediately.
His absence strikes you viscerally. You do not know it for certain, you have not even looked, but it is clear to you. Raziel is gone. The rumors abound and have abounded for some time, but you still almost cannot believe it. Taking your place, you open your eyes and gaze through the heavens, but he is not there – they somehow seem dark for his absence. It is sad to lose a friend. You have stood fast in your faith and devotion through the loss of a number of your fellow hosts of heaven. This is not new.
But it is more.
So many feelings you do not understand open inside of you. To this point in your existence, you have known disappointment and you have known sadness, but this is unique. Your friend is gone, the beautiful grace which taught you to appreciate how glorious light can be has been torn from his being. You do not even dare look upon him now for fear of what else you might lose in seeing him as he is. A million thoughts you've never considered flood your mind, rebellious, wicked ideas which you can only barely resist.
He is gone, you insist to yourself.
You turn your eyes, your 'beautiful' eyes out into the expanse of creation, but for the first time in your existence you cannot see clearly.
Sorrow runs down your cheeks and you rest from your labor.
Day, you have bruised and beaten me,
As rain beats down the bright, proud sea,
Beaten my body, bruised my soul,
Left me nothing lovely or whole—
Yet I have wrested a gift from you,
Day that dies in dusky blue:
the new moon, excerpt (pt. 1)
You enjoy the feel of your human appearance. It is compact and simple and dashing. God has called you the angel of beauty before and in this mortal form you can't say you disagree with Him – you are humble, not blind. The night air on the balcony is cool, the threat of rain buzzing in the clouded sky. With these sensations, that much more of human experience makes sense to you now. If all else about this uncomfortable potential assignment is wrong, you will at least have satiated some of your curiosity.
You grip the railing more tightly.
They know how you feel. They know that you were close to Raziel and still they choose to ask you, of all the angels, to watch him. As if it is not enough that he is devoid of grace and you the worse for it, you must now turn your exacting gaze his way. You have not dared, not since he was cast out. What will you see? What will be left of the beautiful creature you had learned to care for? Your breaths come evenly, not betraying the turmoil in your heart. You have come here to see if you can do this – they will not send you against your will, God promised.
You do not face him at first, the sound of your name from his lips almost enough to shake your courage. You've missed that voice. Slowly turning, you open your eyes to see what appearance Raziel's soul now holds. It is shocking, it is jarring...
It is beautiful.
Dark as the night sky and imperfect as only that beyond your comprehension can be, it is something the likes of which you have never seen before and it is not now nor ever has it been your place to judge what you see. You simply observe. To the contrary of your fears, he does not look evil, he is no demon. He is a sphere of darkness that stands in stark defiance of your light. Raziel is as unique and fascinating to you now as he was before, perhaps even more so. Not to mention how appealing his physical form is to your own – the tall, commanding presence suits him, as does the handsome face.
”Hello, Raziel,” you say simply with a smile.
He returns your advancing steps with a few backward steps to maintain the distance between you. Your eyebrow raises, is he unhappy to see you? You reach out and touch his cheek, the contact bringing an unfamiliar warmth to your face. He accuses you and you feel hurt, but you understand his reservations. Half of the reason you are here is to determine whether or not you can handle being in such close proximity to him. You are not now watching him on heaven's order, but you may well be the next time you meet.
”No,” you reply softly, ”I came by my own volition.”
You try for the same emotional reservation that you so admire in him, but your effort doesn't quite keep you from adding a confession.
”I missed you.”
The next moments happen so fast that you are not sure they are truly happening. His hand cupping your neck, the other on your chest as your lips meet in a kiss. It is your first, but you hope with a godly hope that it will not be your last. You feel him, deep in your own body, his presence settling into you until you aren't sure that you aren't one. He shudders and pulls away, but your foreheads remain connected in a new moment somehow even more intimate than the last. You feel so much, you want to speak, but there are too many voices screaming so loudly in your head.
”I could stay,” you whisper. It is all you can muster and you mean it completely. If Raziel will have you, you will stay here forever. You have seen enough.
'Heaven would be worse for your absence.'
”Raziel,” you wonder aloud, his name as precious on your lips as any prayer. You move your head, inviting, assuring, and feel the pressure of his lips on your throat. It is your turn to shudder.
You obey, as you always have.
In the next instant, you are back in heaven upon the tower of your domain, but you do not look out, not even at him. The course of action is clear. You will watch him. You must watch him. In an effort to decide if being near enough to Raziel would be too painful a task for you, you have learned that it is the distance that you cannot bear. Besides, it does not have to be an either/or situation. You can help him stay the course and use the assignment to stay by his side. No one needs to be the wiser. It is not their duty to keep watch. And in any case, they cast him out of heaven.
Someone needs to hold a secret or two.
For suddenly over the factories
I saw a moon in the cloudy seas—
A wisp of beauty all alone
In a world as hard and gray as stone—
Oh who could be bitter and want to die
When a maiden moon wakes up in the sky?
the new moon, excerpt (pt. 2)
accepted welcome to MY SOUL TO KEEP
Oh you of little faith! If there is anything horrifying about you, it's how well you write and capture your characters in words! I'm excited for this Rex masterpiece!
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