Two sullen boys carry a stretcher, bearing an angel dressed in white. The angel’s wing has been wounded and her eyes are covered with a bandage. The painting does not tell us what has happened. Perhaps this is how Hugo Simberg meant it to be. When he first displayed this work in the annual exhibition of the Finnish Art Society, there was simply a dash where there should have been a title. Was this the artist’s way of saying that no single, correct interpretation exists? That each viewer creates the meaning of the work for him/herself, interpreting it in a personal way?
My poem also has a dash where there should be a title. Your interpretation of the poem will be correct.
Make a promise to yourself not to tarry with or let your
heart roost on the promises
from someone who wreaks sour
mathematics on your soul.
You are too good to waste a fraction
on anyone who makes you feel less than whole.
All Rights Reserved, jan ’16
(painting: The Wounded Angel, 1903, by Hugo Simberg)