One angel brought a sword.
Flaming blade to guard the gate
against our going home.
The second brought distaff and spade:
familiar gear we’d dropped somehow
that last and awful day.
“Get wisdom here,” the angel said
against the reddening sky.
“Go delve and spin–
the earth and beasts have not forgot your keeping and your care.
And if they groan beneath your work,
remember: once they sang.”
“And if the serpent comes again
to tempt with secret truths,
hold fast your crafts,
in them you’ll find a better mystery.”
(Image source: Walters Ms. W.34, Carrow Psalter, fol. 22v)