Consolation (For the Presentation of Christ in the Temple)

It’s nearly a year since The Consolations of Writing was born, so I thought it was fitting to call today’s poem “Consolation”, in honour of Simeon, the faithful man who waited and waited to see the consolation of his people and found it unexpectedly in a baby brought to be dedicated one day in the temple.


Having waited and waited,
having sat for ages this side of the veil
in this rich but passing temple,

having longed to see past Herod,
past Caesar, past the law’s letter
to the promises,

having lingered long in the wilderness,
long in this dying tent and long
before this shadow of promise:

I see my salvation.

Many I see fall and rise, and
many will oppose this sign –
a sword will pierce your own soul too –

and temples fall and kingdoms melt
yet in this child, smaller than
my arm’s breadth, I

can see with eyes unveiled, and hear
with ears unstopped that all
promises sound a full Amen.

Dismiss me now, Lord. I have seen
my consolation here.

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