Angel with a Sword
by Marc Chagall
When into the hidden cave the angel stepped—
he was unmistakable, so towering and radiant—
the lone man there shed all claims
and asked only to be permitted
to remain the simple man he was,
a merchant confused by his travels.
He could not read—and now a word like this
was too much for even a wise one.
But the angel, imperious, pointed over and over
to what was written on the page he held,
and would not yield and kept insisting: read.
Then the man read, and when he did the angel bowed.
It was as if he had always been reading,
and now was able to obey and bring to pass.