Bloodless Angel


By Dr. Hilary Cremin

Dr. Hilary Cremin, a Reader at the University of Cambridge, Faculty of Education, researches conflict transformation and peace-building, in and through education, in settings in the UK and elsewhere. She is working on new ways of exploring peace, drawing on pre/post/modern, embodied, affective and aesthetic perspectives, and on arts-based research methodologies such as autoethnography and photo voice.

Bloodless Angel

I am a bloodless angel. I float in airy efficacy

I exist outside of history, outside of time.

I have no place,

I speak from nowhere in particular.

I speak from everywhere.

I have no thoughts

I convey what is thought

I have no feet,

so I leave no footprint.

I have no hands,

so I do not act.

I have no body

Prick me, and I will not bleed.

They say that god is dead

That his palace in heaven is vacant.

That wind blows through empty rooms

And mice chew on velvet curtains.

I say that god’s palace is occupied.

Its rooms are full, its curtains intact

It is occupied by reason, science,

rationality, Enlightenment.

It is occupied by me.

I rest on my canon.

My validity, my reliability, my rationale.

I consort with kings,

With prime ministers, presidents


They lend me their ears

They ask me what is true

What is valuable

And what is right.

They are eager to know.

The subjects of my research are not kings,

Or presidents, or angels.

The subjects of my research

Are gendered, ethnic, gay, disabled, poor.

They have bodies.

Entangled in the messiness of time and space,

Grounded in clay.

Prick them, and they bleed.

These bodies are fascinating to me

I wish to know every intimacy.

What does someone with your gender think?

What choices would someone in your ethnic group make?

How is your life impacted by poverty?

My view from nowhere

Pierces their somewhere.

I bestow voice upon them

I give them the gift of the word.

I represent them.

I work for social justice, peace and sustainability.

I turn their utterances into gold.

I have heard that there is another

Coming through

She unsettles me

She (oh the arrogance)

Speaks only for herself.

She stands in the mud

And the clay

Of her positionality,

Bizarrely proud

Of her bricolage.

Her participatory methodology.

Her new story

Her research journey.

She speaks of postcoloniality



She renders me an actor

In this world,

Gendered, embodied, classed.

She dares to colour me white.

I am sure that I don’t need

To start locking the gates of the palace at night.

What after all is there to fear?

What harm, what truth

Could possibly be held

Within the arms

Of one



This paper was presented as a Poem for the Ethical Debates of Representation in Research Conference : University of Cambridge -16 Nov 2018


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