Good Brood Thomas’ Michael in Thought, photo & all text, Irene O’Garden, © 2013

To listen to this post, please click here:Angel Sighting

Angels resist photography. They resist capture in imagery of any kind, and it takes a special person to coax them into three dimensions. My immensely talented friend Thomas Donahue has done so, and last Sunday we were privileged to attend the dedication of his “St. Michael of Port Austin” in the cemetery of St Michael’s Catholic Church in Port Austin, Michigan.

Blue MichaelSt Michael of Port Austin, photo © Irene O’Garden, 2013

It is a superb monument, with the powerful, protective bronze angel atop a three-tiered stone structure. Two years ago, Thomas asked this farming community to collect stones from their fields. He then built a pedestal which is also a columbarium.  The monument is 16 feet high, and is at once traditional and modern. Important local symbols surround St Michael: corn, lumber and regional grindstone. His wings were inspired by the Michigan Sandhill Crane.


BehindBehind the Angel, photo ©Irene O’Garden, 2013


Isn’t it miraculous this angel was so recently created? He looks as if he has been there forever, but here he is below, hoisted by human wings on to the stone. The artist is on the right with dear friend Mark Lacko, left, helping.


Crane Lift


Awhile back, Thomas helped restore the Statue of Liberty. In the following photo you can see her influence. I love to think how long this monument will stand, how many troubled hearts it will ease. While St. Michael bears the scale of justice,  you’ll see he rests the hilt of his sword on the scale. “In advocacy of the soul,” says Thomas.


SlantbetterBeneath the Angel, photo, © Irene O’Garden, 2013


I’m honored to know people who make angels, and people who help put them in place, and people who help artists keep their heads in place during the stress of creation. Here’s Thomas next to me, his beloved partner Mark and my beloved husband John. We all help keep each other’s heads on.

Us Angel


Should you visit the thumb of Michigan, plan to visit one of the finest adornments on the whole hand. If not, take heart knowing such fine things are still being made.







Seen any angels lately?

Hope you are enjoying this day of reflection and celebration. This week, I offer an excerpt from my  narrative poem, “A Visit to Liberty,” which I wrote in 1997 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of The Statue of Liberty. If you would care to hear the piece in its entirety, please watch the 10-minute video below.

To see from a few other pieces of mine, please click here: 

Incidentally– I’ll be on vacation for the next two weeks, so things will be a little quiet on the blog–Thanks for reading and watching.



1.  First, the souvenirs:

Copper Lady and Plastic Lady

and Lady in the Snowball:

coinbanks, cedarboxes,

thick and tasselled pencils,

placemats postcards

mirrors spoons cups

metal paper rubber

bear her blue image


Also fries dogs shakes


2.  Buy our Admit Ones

from the whitehaired grizzlejawed joe

sparkling under his cap.

A short wait, then board

our red white and blue tidy ferry.


3.  Stamping children

flappy flags

ziz of nylon jackets

every size jeans, polyesters,

chiffon scarves, gold bridges,

not just Americans, but

Citizens of Everywhere.


4.  Hair of every kind

streaming over faces.

The violins within my blood

begin to rise.



5.  Thickhand men derope our boat.

The Hudson flushes under us.

We’re off.

Grey and black and navy hugely tower.

The pier disappears as we peer

at the flannel and seersucker buildings compressing.


6.  Hoisted like masts

in the brisk ferry air

squint we

out of our sun and spray tugged lashes.

Teeth dry from windward smiles

fluttery cheeks.


Part of a sandwich flies by.


7.  Ferry bottom slaps on the river’s knee.

Old fort, gunhouse, then


8.  Ellis on the right.

Pink brick sinks in my eyes

and my stomach.

I know that place.

In another life

off the stink of the ship

chilly chillly damp harsh

pulled shoved cursed

named another name,

I embraced my destiny.

Some of it hideous.


Kindness was not yet popular.


9.  Bright oblongs, slices of light,

sun punctuates the water.

City reduced

to a pattern of blocks


10. And there,

as silver and as green

as juneborn leaves

she twists.

There she grows now

so tall, the tallest

woman you have ever seen.


11. Yes,

you can even look under her armpit.

What a great big holy face!

The boat is tipping,

cameras clicking.


12. Her grotto is the open sky

The water is her shrine

Appearing to the faithful

With dignity divine.


13. The beacon herself welcomes us–

Green goddess in the harbor

bearing light and knowledge.

Grave and peaceful,

calm and holy,

she stands at the nation’s door.



Today’s question: Have you visited Herself?



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