Christmas Poems I

U.A. Fanthorpe (born 1929)

This was the moment when Before
Turned into After, and the future’s
Uninvented timekeepers presented arms.

This was the moment when nothing
Happened. Only dull peace
Sprawled  boringly over the earth.

This was the moment when even energetic Romans
Could find nothing  better to do
Than counting heads in remote provinces.

And this was the moment
When a few farm workers and three
Members  of an obscure Persian sect
Walked haphazard by starlight straight
Into  the kingdom of heaven.

Christmas Morning Poem

                                          Blessed are you, O  Christmas Christ, 
                                                  and that your cradle was so  low 
                                                  that shepherds, poorest and simplest of earthly folk, 
                                                  could kneel beside it,
                                                  and look level-eyed into  the face of God.

Prayer for a New Mother
Dorothy Parker

The things she knew, let her forget again-
 The voices in the sky, the fear, the cold,
The gaping shepherds, and the queer old men
 Piling their clumsy gifts of foreign gold.

Let her have laughter with her little one;
 Teach her the endless, tuneless songs to sing,
Grant her her right to whisper to her son
 The foolish names one dare not call a king.

Keep from her dreams the rumble of a crowd,
 The smell of rough-cut wood, the trail of red,
The thick and chilly whiteness of the shroud
 That wraps the strange new body of the dead.

Ah, let her go, kind Lord, where mothers go
 And boast his pretty words and ways, and plan
The proud and happy years that they shall know
 Together, when her son is grown a man. 

Untitled Poem by Luci Shaw

Blue homespun and the bend of my breast
keep warm this small hot  naked star
fallen to my arms. (Rest …
you who have had so far to  come.)
Now nearness satisfies
the body of God sweetly. Quiet he  lies
whose vigour hurled a universe. He sleeps
whose eyelids have  not closed before.
His breath (so slight it seems
no breath at  all) once ruffled the dark deeps
to sprout a world. Charmed by doves’  voices,
the whisper of straw, he dreams,
hearing no music from  his other spheres.
Breath, mouth, ears, eyes
he is curtailed who  overflowed all skies,
all years. Older than eternity, now he
is  new. Now native to earth as I am, nailed
to my poor planet, caught
that  I might be free, blind in my womb
to know my darkness ended,
brought  to this birth for me to be new-born,
and for him to see me mended
I  must see him torn.

Into The Darkest Hour
by  Madeleine  L’Engle

It was a time like this,
War and tumult of war,
a horror in the air.
Hungry yawned the abyss-
and yet  there came the star
and the child most wonderfully there.

It  was time like this
of fear and lust for power,
license and greed and blight-
and yet the Prince of bliss
came into the  darkest hour
in quiet and silent light.

And in a time like  this
how celebrate his birth
when all things fall apart?
Ah!  Wonderful it is
with no room on the earth
the stable is our heart. 

A Christmas Song 

by Norman Williams

Christmas is coming.  The goose is getting fat 

Please  put a penny in the old man’s hat.

If  you  haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do.

If  you  haven’t got a ha’penny, God bless you.

Tonight the  wide, wet  flakes of snow

Drift down like  Christmas suicides,

Layering the eaves  and boughs until

The landscape seems  transformed, as from

A night of talk or  love. I’ve  come

From cankered ports  and railroad hubs

To winter in a  northern state:  

Three months of wind  and little light.

Wood split, flue  cleaned, and  ashes hauled,

I am now proof  against the cold

And make a place  before the  stove. 

Mired fast in middle  age, possessed

Of staved-in barn and  brambled  lot,

I think of that  fierce-minded woman

Whom I loved,  painting in a  small,

Unheated room, or of a  friend,

Sharp-ribbed from  poverty, who  framed

And fitted out his  house by hand

And writes each night  by  kerosene. 

I think, that is, of  others  who

Withdrew from commerce and the world

To work for joy instead of gain.

O would that I could gather them

This Yuletide, and shower them with coins 

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