There Are Angels on the Streets of Shawlands


There are angels on the streets of Shawlands

unshaven
in faded old anoraks smoking,
in black burkas eyes kohled and rolling,
in pushchairs strapped, jam-faced and screaming,
on pavements holding black phones striding, head-shaking,

in shop windows
consumer ghosts shimmering,
double-parked in cars, rattled fingers drumming,
out shop-doors bagbursting and scowling,
lights telling them go, pushing and shuffling,
lights saying stop, huffing and puffing,

mothers and babies,
mothers and their mothers,
mothers alone, wrapped up in their daily lives,
feathers bound in cotton and 30% polyester.

Forgotten angelhood.
Forgotten commonality.
Agendas hovering, tasks completing,
missions undergoing furtive glances in microseconds
repetitive strangers brushing past for the thousandth time.

Small worlds
refusing to collide.
The uncollective unconscious,
a mass of unspread wings, excepting the drunk and the mad,

the men and women who sing and rail, who have heaven
in a bottle or a pill, sunspots who flare and die,
who scare the masses with their teetering song
reminding them to be unbound is to sometimes fall-
but falling is the thing we do when first we learn to fly.

And I want to approach each one and say
“There are angels on the streets of Shawlands,
and it is time to unstrap your wings.”

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23 thoughts on “There Are Angels on the Streets of Shawlands

  1. nice…its the last 3 stanzas that really pop for me…great build through out and as marilyn says so much..the worlds that never collide though…yeah, i would love to shake them up a bit…smiles.

  2. beautiful thoughts, beautifully expressed – they’re angels, everyone, but perhaps they don’t know it yet (& perhaps i haven’t always recognized them, sans wings)

  3. Nice writing, Brian – and I enjoyed hearing you read it too 🙂 There are angels all around us, but neither they nor we recognise them as such. I really like the line “repetetive strangers …” I think that captures so much that’s wrong in our so-called society.

  4. Nice, they say.
    Nice?
    Thrilling, moving, making me feel both guilty and miserable and uplifted. All at the same time. Feelings about the mass of humanity that have it so difficult. So many tasks and problems and trying to escape, whichever way they can. And the voice…

  5. i think you just told them, to spread their wings 😉 and in a way that should make them glad to i’d think 😉

    liked a lot, but esp,

    “Small worlds
    refusing to collide.
    The uncollective unconscious,
    a mass of unspread wings, excepting the drunk and the mad”

    and

    “falling is the thing we do when first we learn to fly.”

    nice 😉

  6. Brian, you’ve got a good poem here, but if you take out these two lines-

    “reminding them to be unbound is to sometimes fall-
    but falling is the thing we do when first we learn to fly.”

    -you’ll have a great poem. You don’t need these two lines because they’re just a summation of all that’s preceded them; and the falling/learning to fly concept has been said and done to the point where it doesn’t make any sense to use it so directly in such a fine poem. I just think those two lines undermine your raw, gritty, human observations on earthbound divinity. Nonetheless, this is the most I’ve ever commented on someones poem before so there’s a lot to be said for my strong reaction to your work.

  7. Hi, Brian, I enjoyed this very much…the first stanzas were my favorite, i immediately knew the angels you wrote of, with
    ” There are angels on the streets of Shawlands

    unshaven
    in faded old anoraks smoking,
    in black burkas eyes kohled and rolling,
    in pushchairs strapped, jam-faced and screaming,”

    We know so very little about each other…who knows where the angels are?

    I enjoyed hearing it in your voice as well. It gave the words more dimension and meaning.

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