The Angels and the Furies


Have you not wounded yourself
And battered those you love
By sudden motions of evil,
Black rage in the blood
When the soul, premier danseur,
Springs toward a murderous fall?
The furies possess you.


Have you not surprised yourself
Sometimes by sudden motions
Or intimations of goodness,
When the soul, premier danseur,
Perfectly poised,
Could shower blessings
With a graceful turn of the head?
The angels are there.


The angels, the furies
Are never far away
While we dance, we dance,
Trying to keep a balance
To be perfectly human
(Not perfect, never perfect,
Never an end to growth and peril),
Able to bless and forgive
This is what is asked of us.


It is light that matters,
The light of understanding.
Who has ever reached it
Who has not met the furies again and again?
Who has reached it without
Those sudden acts of grace?

– May Sarton –

I’ve had this poem in my “draft” file since last November. I think the wise Parker J. Palmer included it back then in the monthly newsletter he co-authors with songwriter-musician Carrie Newcomer.
Given my musings of late, shared in this week’s blog, coupled with current news, it feels like the right time to bring it into the light. To remind me of my own angels and furies. To help me see the light in darkness.

Author: Katharine Weinmann

attending to the inner life to live and lead with kindness, clarity and wisdom; writing to claim the beauty in her wabi sabi life

2 thoughts on “The Angels and the Furies”

  1. Oh how well I know the angels and the furies that abide within me. My husband’s Parkinson’s is advancing. I wish I was more angelic but often it is the furies that characterize my response to his increasing needs. And yet , I often find when I let the fury tire itself out, there is certainly some angels in my life and I almost feel a peaceful acceptance for today’s journey. For tomorrow and the next days and months and years ahead; I know I will be dancing with the furies and the angels.


    1. Hi Valerie, it’s been a long time since we connected. I appreciate this touch in, reading how the poem resonates for you and your current life circumstances. I’m sorry to read of your husband’s advancing condition. Yes, to letting the furies have their space, to clear the way for our angels’ peace and presence. Such wisdom in your lived experience. Kindest regards.


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