You Are Safe, Little Ones
I see a footbridge high above a gorge.
One bannister is gone; the other lies
on narrow rotting boards. Rough waters surge
beneath this passageway that creaks and sighs
in answer to footfalls of children who,
while clinging to each other, move ahead
with wary steps toward home and suppertime
and hope they'll soon be safely tucked in bed.
These innocents are not alone. Unknown
to them, an angel stands close by to keep
them safe from peril that could plunge them to
the depths. Tonight no one will grieve and weep.
Janice Canerdy is a retired high-school English teacher from Potts Camp, Mississippi. Her poems have appeared in various magazines, journals, and anthologies. Her first book, Expressions of Faith (Christian Faith Publishing, 2016), may be purchased online through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
*Editor's note: This famous painting of children crossing a bridge, protected by a guardian angel, is familiar to countless people whose childhood bedrooms included a print of the work, like a night light, or whose picture Bibles and Sunday Schools featured the art. There is much confusion over the artist, often listed as Lindberg Heilige Schutzengel, or sometimes as "Heilige Schutzengel by Lindberg." Heilige Schutzengel means Holy Guardian Angel in German, and is a reference to the content of the painting, but Linberg was one of the poster printers for this work, not the artist's name. H. Zabateri was an Austrian academic painter of mythological and religious scenes; however, he also did not exist and was a pseudonym for Hans Zatzka. In turn, Zatzka also used Pierre de Ronsard, Joseph Bernard, and Bernard Zatzka, adding to the tangle. The purpose behind the artist's multiple identities was probably, in part, eccentricity, but also pragmatic: he was extremely prolific, and contracts limited how many works he could legally sell, so one way to circumvent that was to paint under different names.
The Ekphrastic Review
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