I The stratosphere was once where angels were; if we are dizzy and a little mad, forgive us, we have had experience of a world beyond our sphere, there—where no angels are; the angel host and choir is driven further, higher, or (so it seems to me) descended to our level, to share our destiny; we do not see the fire, we do not even hear the whirr and distant roar, we have gone hence before the sound manifests; are we here? or there? we do not know, waiting from hour to hour, hoping for what? dispersal of our poor bodies’ frame? what do we hope for? name remembered? faults forgot? or do we hope to rise upward? no—no—not to those skies; rather we question here, what do I love? what have I left un-loved? what image would I choose had I one thing, as gift, redeemed from dust and ash? I ask, what would I take? which doll clutch to my breast? should some small tender ghost. descended from the host or cherubim and choirs, speak: ‘look, they are all here, all, all your loveliest treasures, look, and then choose—but one— we have our journey now, poor child—come.’ II A Dresden girl and boy held up the painted dial, but I had quite forgot I had that little clock; I’ll take the clock—but how? why, it was broken, lost, dismantled long ago; but there’s another treasure, that slice of amber-rock, a traveller once brought me from the Baltic coast, and with it (these are small) the little painted swallow— where are they? one, I left, I know at a friend’s house; and there’s that little cat that lapped milk from my tray at breakfast-time—but where? at some hotel perhaps? or staying with a friend? or was it in a dream? a small cat with grey fur; perhaps you may remember? it’s true I lent or gave away the amber, the swallow’s somewhere else in someone’s house, the clock was long ago, dismantled, lost, the cat was dream or memory or both; but I’ll take these—is it too much? III We are a little dizzy and quite mad, but we have had strange visitations from the stratosphere, of angels drawn to earth and nearer angels; we think and feel and speak like children lost, for one Child too, was cast at Christmas, from a house of stone with wood for beam and lintel and door-shaft; go—go—there is no room for you, in this our Inn: to Him, the painted swallow, to Him, the lump of amber, to Him, the boy and the girl with roses and love-knots, to Him, the little cat to play beneath the Manger: if we are dizzy and a little mad, forgive us, we have had strange visitations from the stratosphere.