Thursday, December 25, 2014

Four Christmas Poems

Christmas poems from “The Godtouch”*

The Shepherds

The night began as any other
night begins with darkness,
starred sky, and imploding
But the slow rising moon
was followed by a brighter star
that settled strangely low
over the glowing town beyond the rise.
This bright beaming newcomer
became the topic
of their quiet evening murmuring
as they sat glowing
around the warming fire.

Then the night dissolved in sudden terror
as the star seemed to fall
right on them, flashing huge
and hovering over their frightened
bowed and befuddled forms.
As they cowered, awestruck
and trembling against the frosted ground,
they heard voices.
Above their disbelieving heads,
the star was talking to them,
                     singing to them,
inviting them to look up to see faces,
briefly, angels with a message.
Then nothing but silence blowing
over the low Christmas christened hills.

They rose, still trembling, stunned, awed,
and curious. They made their way,
wondering, sensing hope,
toward the soft glow of Bethlehem,
just below the beckoning star. 

* * * * * * *

The Angels

The presses of heaven
were stopped.
The rumored event had happened,
and cherubim had the scoop.
It was Christmas for the first time.
And as if they couldn't wait
for the morning's first edition,
the angels burst brilliantly
over the front page of the sky
with a joyous banner headline
and a miraculous news story.
And the shepherds, like excited paperboys,
delivered the heralded word
from street corner to stable
as they made their way
to the scene of this sensational event.
And as they gazed at the child,
they kept one ear tuned toward the sky
just in case
late breaking additional information
were to come over the wire
from the choiring heavenly press room.

* * * * * * *

The Nativity

AS helpless as he was,
he deserved more privacy.
Yet they gathered and stared,
not completely understanding what they saw,
just that they had to see ...

Mary was tired and sore and a little sick.
But she had heard the heralding angels
and knew they would come, that they had to come.
To see this new small life
that had been holy conceived inside her.
She did what she could to tidy the dusty stall,
putting fresh hay in the manger
and carefully wrapping the child
in her only spare clean skirt. There was no more,
for the time, to be done. She smiled bravely, trying
to look her best, trying to collect her thoughts
and slow her racing heart ...

Joseph stood by,
beside his beloved young wife,
uncertain how to act, how to stand.
He was a father, yet not a father.
He was proud of his brave Mary, and awed
by this birth. Just moments before
she had been wracked by the shrieking pains of labor.
And above her screams and sobs, he could have sworn
he heard singing. Voices, sweet like only voices
of angels could be. Then
the child's first gasping cries
crashing against the impinging darkness.
He wasn't sure he would ever understand
what was taking place, and not sure he wanted to.
Shifting his weight, he stood silent,
his brow creased in thought, watching
the gathering people ...

The shepherds, gesturing from stall to sky,
began talking in quick, excited words
about what they had seen and heard in the hills.
How night turned to noon,
and of angel choirs singing tidings of joy
and birth, and the child, found just as was promised,
small, red, and wrinkled, sleeping next
to cattle and chickens ...

It was all too amazing. Yet,
he lay quietly dozing, having just been fed,
not totally unaware of the world,
but not more so than any other newborn.
He deserved more privacy.
Yet they would never leave him alone.
But always come to him, time after time,
to adore and obey, or to mock and kill,
as the paradox of Christmas
began burning in their hearts.

* * * * * * *

The Wisemen

Miniature magi march majestically
down the middle aisle of the church
mistakenly placed in the annual Christmas pageant.
They really came two years later
to give their gifts and long considered
adoration to the patient child.
But in our modern reenactment
of this eternal event,
the kings come to the stable
along with the sheep and the shepherds.
God doesn't mind
this once-every-year-error,
because the message is still clear.
Magic is vanquished by the intense reality
of this fragile fatal incarnation
worshipped in remembrance
at every church that is our Bethlehem.
Bathrobe wrapped wisemen
bearing gifts of gold painted cardboard
and mom's empty perfume bottles
make up an inexact scene.
But draw us just as strongly just the same,
to that holy point beneath the star
that burns His perfection into our hearts,
daily becoming His wisemen.

* * * * * * *

Merry Christmas to all!

 These are from my only collection of poetry, “The Godtouchwhich you can get using these links:

• Kindle version.



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