Theogony III: The Gathering of Angels

by Paul Martin Freeman (May 2024)

Max the Birdman Ernst (Detail) —Martin Sharp, 1967



Now God and Satan in Eternity
Prepared to fight their never-ending war.
The discord in the Dreamer’s Unity
Was set to carry on for evermore.

But neither lack for helpers in their fight,
Begotten of them, either good or evil.
And these now gathered in their author’s sight
And face the foe, all twins in power equal.


Our tale of Primal Time proceeds apace
With God and Satan on the Plains of Heaven.
In silence they observe the other’s face,
The fate of all humanity in question.

To God now flocks a myriad of Angels
On golden chariots and wings of fire:
Great warriors recalled in myths and fables
Whose praise would poets sing with harp and lyre.

And many different ranks and kinds arrive:
Dominions, Virtues, Seraphs, Thrones and Powers;
But all from God’s Eternal Mind derive
Whose Presence over all His Children towers.

For Heaven is a wondrous hierarchy
Where all are one in Beauty, Love and Grace;
And now they come, a vast celestial army,
On every warrior its Author’s Face.

And Giants, too, are there among this number:
Not merely mountainous in size, but courage;
And Spirits of the Night that never slumber
But through the darkness souls of men encourage.

And with these warriors born of God Eternal
Come also Cherubim of Gentleness:
Emergent Spirit Beings, forever vernal,
Of childlike Innocence and Blessedness.

And all are garbed in richly coloured robes:
Persimmon, azure blue and apple green,
With crests depicting rare celestial globes
And stars that only Archangels have seen.

In jewelled armour, too, are these arrayed,
With princely helms, cuirasses, cuisses, greaves,
And swords of strange ethereal substance made
And vambraces enclosing golden sleeves.

About them flock exotic avian creatures
Like parakeets and birds of paradise;
And all with innocent and trusting features
The little Cherubim to play entice.

And other creatures, too, are there besides,
Like graceful dappled deer and stately rams.
No fear these incorporeal beasts divides
With lions mingling lovingly with lambs.

But now the Angels form in ranks and tiers:
A company of High Nobility.
And thus they come from far and distant spheres
In Honour, Love and Deep Humility.

The air of Heaven is all suffused with music;
Not played, but of these powerful Spirits born:
Polyphony extraordinary and lucid
That seems at once to both rejoice and mourn.

For now is heard the Music of the Spheres
That in the Rhythms of Eternity
Recalls with rapturous joy and ruing tears
The Noble Dreamer’s vanished Unity.

No greater beauty has there ever been
Than witnessed in this Gathering of Angels;
No more spectacular nor lofty scene
Was ever found in stories, myths or fables.

Of those who came for God, the main were these:
First, Love, the wellspring of humanity;
The balm for every ailment and disease
Whose being proclaims our Primal Unity.

Her sweetness makes of foes the firmest friends
And binds them in her gentle arms as one.
Her warmth a tired and broken spirit mends,
Replenishing its vigour like the sun.

To those though who’d her hidden depths explore
As honoured guests prepared to pay the fee,
Eternal Love unfastens Eden’s Door
To live with her from Death forever free.

Then, next to Love, stands Justice Absolute:
The ruler of the consciences of men.
Of mien resolved, demeanour resolute,
The errant soul he guides to God again.

Whilst Love persuades with softness, Justice orders,
Demanding humankind pursue the Right;
And when inconstant resolution falters
He spurs his legions on again to fight.

He leads the charge for God against Injustice
And wields for Truth an adamantine sword.
The Soul of Man to him has been entrusted
Whose fellowship becomes its own reward.

And nothing’s worse for Man than Hateful Lies
Which turn the liar’s hate upon himself;
Observing this, an Angel somewhere dies,
Despairing as that soul destroys itself.

For Angels live inside and all around us,
And Demons, too, as some have cruelly found;
And though their inner workings may confound us
Our bodies are indeed their battleground.

And when that mighty Angel thus is vanquished,
And lies defeated by its mortal foe,
All Heaven reverberates with cries of anguish
As on behalf of all it takes this blow.

For all by Love are bound as one together
Like branches of a vast exquisite tree;
And sharing in their every pain and pleasure,
Know nothing of the world of you and me.

But instantly that Angel is reborn
To take its place in Heaven as before.
There, once again in God’s Employment sworn,
It once again prepares itself for war.

But other powerful Angels, too, were gathered
To fight and die for High Nobility.
Among them, Chivalry, who bore their standard,
And Honour, Self-Restraint and Loyalty.

And others were there, Essences of Culture,
Who championed Godlike Creativity:
Beauty in Poetry and Art and Sculpture;
In Music, Comedy and Tragedy.

And these in ancient times were known as Muses:
Eternal Spirits born of Zeus himself;
Nine sister Goddesses of song and sciences:
A vision of Ennoblement itself.

For some we know as Gods and some as Angels;
And this a Muse or Spirit, that a Sprite.
But such are merely different human labels
And none of them in truth is wrong or right.

For all perceive according to their nature;
And all are limited, save God alone.
With mind imposing self-created structure,
Reality by Man is rarely known.

For God alone the world is as the world is,
And only He perceives things as they are.
He sees sub specie aeternitatis
That knows no up and down, no near and far.

No this nor that, dimension nor duration
Exists for God whose Being infuses all.
His Day is still the one before Creation,
Nigh fourteen billion years before the Fall.

But mortal Man is made of mundane Matter,
And so the world he knows is what it is:
A world of mundane things and mundane chatter:
Divorced from God, this fate is ever his.

Yet God awaits us in Eternity:
A place so small we miss it if we blink.
We find it in that Primal Unity,
Then lose it just as quickly when we think.

Accept what God and Destiny afford thee;
Yet also fight to be the best you can.
And think not how or when or who’ll reward thee,
But simply be a woman or a man.

And many more were on the Plains of Heaven,
Like Gratitude, Respect and Diligence;
Kindliness, Modesty and Self-Possession
And Generosity and Sufferance.

But all were born of God’s Eternal Essence;
All aspects of His Personality.
And all were gathered in His Regal Presence
To battle for the Dreamer’s Unity.


Table of Contents


Paul Martin Freeman is a former art dealer. The present poem is the third of five parts of Theogony. His book, A Chocolate Box Menagerie, is published by New English Review Press and is available here.

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast