Fortunate Fall: Wings of Desire

byzantine angels

The Daily Post Prompt: “Worldly Encounters

An extraterrestrial asks you to recommend one book, movie, or song that explains what humans are all about. Easy answer: the movie Wings of Desire

Damiel, an angel, perches on buildings that tower over Berlin. Seeing the world only in black and white, he listens to a stream of human thought—hopes, fears dreams. To be with a trapeze artist, he plunges to earth, surrendering immortality. Damiel tastes what it means to be human amid the rich colors, sounds, and textures of the city before the wall fell.

What is it to be human?

What is staying alive? To possess

A great hall inside of a cell.

What is it to know?  The same root

Underneath the branches. . . .

What is it to sing? To receive breath

From the genius of creation.

What’s work but humming a song

From wood and wheat. . . .

What is the world to the all powerful?

A circle spinning.

And to the children of the earth?

A cradle rocking.

Waldo Williams



  1. Catherine Hamrick

    “Circle spinning.” Richard Feynman cues me: “I… a universe of atoms, an atom in the universe.” Did Whitman cross your mind–just the word echo–“out of the cradle endlessly rocking”?

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