Sunday, December 28, 2014


And then the angel left her. She arose
After a while, and took the broom again
And wondered, as she swept, “was it a dream?
And what are dreams and what is waking life?”

She walked in dreams. How do you reconcile
The strange transcendence of another world
With baking bread and spinning wool for cloaks?
And why should such a being greet her thus?

And then she smiles an inward-turning smile
And cups her work-rough hands across her front
Protectively, as women always have
Who carry a new life inside their flesh.

Angels, it seems, do not give detailed plans
Of how and who to tell of such strange things,
But the necessity, the child within
Loosens her awe-struck tongue – this must be told.

It seems she walks in an unsolid place
One foot on earth and one foot in the air,
And round her head the secret angels fly
And round her feet the thorns and thistles tear.

She fears the scorn in Joseph’s honest eyes:
Must this, too, be yielded as the price?
But no, this mercy given wraps her round;
He knows she is the mother of the Christ.

And then Elizabeth, the one who knows,
Whose miracle blooms like a desert rose,
Richly endowing a gaunt barren place,
And tears of wonder water both their hearts.

And then her feet are turned to Bethlehem
As some far emperor she has never seen
Moves all the pieces round upon the board
Into a shape that is the will of God.

And soon now will the angel-hosts return
To bless the turning earth with peace decreed,
The while she carries, underneath her heart

The meaning and the answer to our need.

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