Poem for the 2020th Anniversary of Christ’s Nativity
The minatory clouds have flown.
Wolf-grey they ran when they were blown
Away like the last red leaf to fall,
And the last spent grief to gall,
Away beyond the wide expanse
Where order drops the mask of chance.
How pure this night that does not bear our taint!
The crisp air carries neither bleat nor plaint.
Grateful, though poor in thanks, we are
For the kind and princely star
That Melchior and Balthazar
With gentle Caspar watch. O light impart
Thy beams to every mind and heart!
For we the sons of Adam, David’s heirs,
Inheritors of blessings and of cares,
Now sense the bud is on the stem,
As we process to Bethlehem.
The parting world fades dark and cold,
A new age rises on the old.
The dove of grace is on the wing,
Within our fall is planted spring.
We come to worship at the glowing stall,
And hail the Infant Priest of priests,
The King of kings who sleeps with beasts.
Whoever thought that God could be so small?
Our sins look so much bigger now,
Against this blossom on the bough.
Come, let us kneel! Yes, we, the reason why
The prophet sang that He is born to die.
Barren, we, of warmth to love:
True piety is from above.
Among deposèd crowns and shepherds’ staves,
Great men of ermine bend like slaves
Before the Child in Mary’s arms,
Enchanted by the Virgin’s charms.
And lo! We hear the distant blast
Of trumpets not of earthly brass,
As angels sing to venerate
Their sov’reign Queen and Heaven’s Gate.
At dawn good Joseph quells his lamp;
In gladness we return to camp,
And walking wonder to ourselves,
If men would still believe in elves,
Still consecrate their cold façades
To empty muses, ruthless gods,
Or muse on marble Arcadies,
And serpent-stung Eurydicies,
Now that the Holy Maid has put
Upon that snake her sinless foot,
To crush the author of their lies,
And leave him bleeding where he dies.
Would men their endless warfare cease
Now that He’s come, the Prince of Peace?
Fatigued, we pray and take our rest,
Knowing how few shall join the blessed,
For, some prefer a stone to heaven’s Bread,
And some prefer to dwell among the dead.
Ah, but a man seek God no more,
Or what’s a Hades for?
Ours is a peace the world cannot destroy,
For Christ is Truth and Christ is Life, our joy.