A visit

He doesn’t come to my room often, but it’s always at night. In his presence I sense power and justice, a great calm. Last night, he wanted to know how I was, and when I told him he smiled:

“You have a good few years in front of you, have no fear.”

I asked him about the state of the world, what he, and the others, were doing about it. He laughed.

“We observe. We are not interventionists, as those politicians would say. We keep an eye on the other guy, who appears to have recruited quite a few followers. We are not surprised. His main skill is to instil fear in the minds of humans. We know about it.”

“What can I do?” I asked.

“Be yourself, pray, for we can hear you, any time. Don’t listen to the liars, the cheats, the false prophets, the merchants in the Temple. You know the path. Don’t deviate.”

There was a pause. The great frame stood up, I felt the low sound of powerful wings unfolding, and Saint Michael was gone.

Image source: Nheyob, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Saint_Paul_Church_(Yellow_Springs,Ohio)-_stained_glass,_Saint_Michael_the_Archangel.JPG

The Guardian Angel

Hopi Tawa Mural.jpeg

The old man looked out of the window into the familiar expense of the suburban garden, taking in the brightness of the tulips, the now fading bluebells and the impertinent grass, absurdly green. What a contrast with the arid plateau at the foot of the mesa!

There, on his desk, near the photograph of the assembled family – the one he’d taken on his terrace the summer before – she stood, her delicate silhouette arrested in the position of the butterfly dance, the colours of her wings shimmering in the morning light. “You are a beauty,” he thought, “And I am lucky to have you: my inspiration, my living companion…”

Soon, a cup of steaming coffee to his side, he went back to work. “This novel will never be finished,” he said to himself; “Not that I don’t want to, but now I am so slow, and I know… I will run out of time!” It was true that since his wife’s departure (he never thought of her death, merely of a delay in them being reunited) he had become very slow, as if he’d adopted a different rhythm of life. Yet he was waking up at the same time, as if she was still there, and carefully brewed coffee, as if she was waiting for her first cup, upstairs, in their room. But, now, he had gone back to long hand writing, and he was lucky to get a few hundred words into shape during his morning work.

Behind her mask, the kachina was observing him. “You are a good man,” she was saying to herself, “and, you are right, your end is near. But since you have led a good life, and understand the meaning of your life, I will do something for you…”

The old man put his pen down, and looked at her: he knew she was talking to herself, but could hear the soft voice, and he could sense the imperceptible motion of her fingers, holding the pahos, the ceremonial prayer sticks.

“Maiden, do you miss the mountains?” He asked, smiling at her, perhaps not expecting an answer. He resumed his work, the pen scratching the paper, honing words.

Later, as he was feeling more light-headed than usual, he heard her voice again.

“When the time comes, you will know what has to be done,” she said slowly, “and your people will bury you according to your rites,” she continued, “but later, you will take the trail to Maski, the Land of the Dead, and on your way there you will find me: I will wait for you, and guide you, have no fear.”

Image: A mural depicting Tawa, the sun spirit and creator in Hopi mythology. Painted Desert Inn, Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona. By Fred Kabotie, National Park Service – http://www.nps.gov/common/uploads/photogallery/20140223/park/pefo/BBBAA541-155D-451F-6780A798473458A3/BBBAA541-155D-451F-6780A798473458A3.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23228610

Hopi mythology at Wikipedia

#Promptbox: Planetary Boundaries

DSC_0112We will restore the Earth to

Her Beauty,

We will clean the Rivers,

Purge the Oceans

Of the filth of greed,


We will return the Land to its rightful owners

We will ban weapons and complicated machines,

We will destroy Satan’s mills…

We will, again, till the soil

Without poisons,

But first:

We will follow Your example,

And chase the devils out of the Temple:

The plutocrats,

The oligarchs,

The banksters,

The rapists

The child molesters,

The racists,

The ones who do not deserve your World, Lord,

And we may even, with Your permission,

Take a few scalps…

#FiveSentenceFiction: Trust (part 2)

Alpine streamMy hands were now pitiful lumps of red flesh, raw from the descent, I could no longer feel my arms.

The rope passed through a narrow gully, between two sharp needles of granite, above me I could guess at the cold dawn.

I took advantage of the two vertical walls, pressing my back on one of them, and my feet on the other: it was so tempting to let go, I could not be more than half way down, the end would be silent and quick.

Down, far below in the valley, still in shadows, I could hear the sound of rushing water, the fast alpine stream she told me once about.

Another twenty meters and I realised the rope was too short: there would be a fall of fifty meters at least, a painless death – but then I saw on the rock face, just in front of me, what was unmistakably another rope, this time knotted: I cried.


Visions from Hell, Paolo GirardiThe small bird was close to our window: her voice rose high and clear in the light mist shrouding the garden. She was celebrating life and the dawn of a new day, she was saying hope is alive, and look at me: I am small, but I am here, for God is great and I am a small spark of life in His Creation.

So the dark thoughts of the night were dissipated: the ugly sight of a vicious murderer, walking free from a court room, thanking the corrupt judge, and smiling to the hapless “world press”, the thousands of women and children massacred by powerful armies over five continents, the despair of seeing a once great nation protecting the greedy, the torturers, the hordes of trolls masquerading under the symbols of hate and death…

As I write I hesitate to turn on the news. For it is mostly lies and irrelevance. This is not a place for a writer to tread: and it is Sunday, which used to be a day of peace.

Then I think of the small bird: this is a new day, and somewhere the angels are smiling, ready to turn the Devil and his legions to ashes.

Image: Visions from Hell, Paolo Girardi

#VisDare 77: Precocious #WritersWednesday

PrecociousI see your little family, slowly following the narrow track on your journey,

And I admire you, your beautiful silhouette, the narrow shoulders, and baby Lama in her cot.

This is a long route, but you are safe, for, secretly, the mountains are protecting you.

Here, behind the clouds, there is no shelling, no bombs, no beating:

You have left this war far behind, and are making your way to a new world of Peace.


Also inspired by the tragedy in the Ukraine and Novorossiya

#FiveSentenceFiction: Conflict

We know how it all starts: lies, distrust, fear…

We also know how it finishes, the ruins, the lost lives, the seeds of more to come: 1871, 1918, 1945, and the tall stories the alleged victors tell.

What we don’t know is how to stop the lies, the stupidity, the fear: for those are the Devil’s weapons, and he is skilled at duping mankind, and his minions are many.

So, it comes always to that: to ignore, or to fight, to be on the side of Pilate, or that of Saint Michael.

And to ignore is to leave it to Satan and his legions to decide our fate…

Daily Prompt: Three Coins in the Fountain #postaday

Have you ever tossed a coin or two into a fountain and made a wish? Did it come true?

DSC_0550 We stand on the small bridge, looking at the river, and the old houses on its banks. The Saint is looking at us, in turn, with the benevolent and transparent gaze of the medieval world.

You say: “Here, I want to marry you before the end of the year.”

“We will,” I reply, holding your cold hands in mine. “Look!”

And I toss the little gröschen in the dark water: “We will.”

I know the Saint is smiling: as if saying that she will make sure of it. And we know: it is our faith, our love, our world. We belong here.