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I saw an angel in the Palisades today

Through the
gates of the GWB,
and its twin towers,
beneath its vaulted archway, I sailed.
Lifted by the strong south wind;
sails bent,
wing on wing I flew.

Harlem's waters flow
from Hells Gate here,
melt and mix with the Hudson's,

Then I saw the angel
standing on a ledge in the cliffs.
Not standing, dancing
dervish and twirling
an angel of sunlight and mist.

Was it only a ray of light bent by the wind?

Opposite, Yonkers
a row of ships at dock:
The Wisdom Line!

Where is wisdom to be found?

Another ship steams south
green tug with barge.
Those in the wheel house
flying flags
whirling radar
steering for worlds
I know not of.

Above, the helicopter's staccato
twirling and spinning
blades of steel.
And the trains,
those silver snakes,
deep rumbling diesels.
These are seen and heard
no doubt.

But the angel was dancing
on a ledge in the cliffs.
And these old stones I am told
were carved by ice in an age
not ours;
this cathedral formed
by a hand not our own.

Cliffs and spires
parapets and towers
leaves of November,
gleaming in the light
in the sun
in the haze,
incense, smoke and fire,
fire on the water,
tongues of fire,
silver fire,
a Pentecost of fall.

The Tapan Zee is wide
but narrow is the gate
that leads to the kingdom
of the light.


Charles Henderson

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The Rev. Charles P. Henderson is a Presbyterian minister and author of Faith, Science and the Future, published in 1994 by CrossCurrents Press. He is also the author of God and Science (John Knox / Westminster, 1986) which he is now rewriting to incorporate more recent developments in the conversation taking place between scientists and theologians. He has also written widely for such publications as The New York Times, The Nation, Commonweal, The Christian Century and others.

For further information about Charles Henderson.