The Feast of Michaelmas

Revelation 12:7-12

Who is like God? The nine choirs of angels shouted,
and Michael, leading the heavenly host,
ground the bat-winged dragon beneath his heel,
he who once bore light, Lucifer,
rocketing to earth on a lightning bolt.
                                                      In that moment
Satan, crowned with blackberry brambles,
slinks off trailing intrigue like shadows.
Sword drawn, Michael bows before the Son of Man,
ready to intercede for those in crisis–
his breastplate gleaming like noonday
against the fear that stalks in darkness,
less a messenger than a warrior,
when killing in the name of God was expected.

That’s what the old folk say.

And so, as equinox recedes,
the days grow short, the meadows
rattle with spent blossoms, but
Michaelmas daisies flare like blue stars–
little suns among the weeds.
Stubble stands in harvested fields,
carrots and Queen Anne’s lace are sorted,
the fishermen return to port one last time,
nets bursting, home until spring.
The rent’s due but the cake is sweet.
Innkeepers seethe as the tourists depart at summer’s end,
and throw statues of Michael into the sea.

The fasting Francis of Assisi rises from his knees:
forty days past Ascension,
St. Michael’s Lent gives over to feast,
and there is a moment of luxurious quiet.
Thoughtfully hiding a goose
behind the hem of his robe,
he has her to dinner, rather than for,
offers her a carrot, and smiles.

(For a collection of folk traditions regarding the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels, click here and here.)

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