entwined with the gull’s wing
in pink seastring
among polished shellflakes
where the dog inspects the ocean’s rip
and the children tag along.
beside you with the waves’ murmur
as ever-renewing current speaks
of voices long ago which said, Here shall you go; no further.
And it hums
in the morning wind which blows
like tumbleweed over
the criss cross of the sand.
What did you expect when you came to see
The baby, all wrapped in swaddling bands?
A king, mighty, radiant in glory?
A beaming cherubim, good will in his hands?
Did you come to bow or to learn or be
Affirmed by all that you saw? Herod bore
No risks; and the heavens were certain that He
Was exactly the one wise men had looked for.
This only shows half of the truth. Alpha,
Omega, the Word in His world, the Light
At the core of all being; the Morning Star
Who speaks, and it is; the Father’s delight…
What child is this, you ask? I will tell you:
The one the teeming universe calls to.
Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars!
Though He is lowly, they recognise Him, For He commanded and they were made.
As they burn, they can still hear the hymn
He sung to create them at the Father’s side.
One is elected to proclaim, yet choirs
Sing to herald Him, silently glistening.
The night is coming; if mankind enquires,
What child is this? the host will be listening,
Ready to answer with all heaven’s angels:
Gloria! Gloria! Yet where are they now?
The kings to bow down, the dancers and timbrels?
Herod searches, yet breathes a fuming vow.
But if people ignore Him, rocks will cry out;
Now heavenly fires sparkle and shout…
All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
First birdsong and flight; new heavens groaning;
These things we cannot see. They precede
Sight, consciousness. All we know, he exceeds:
The Face behind the flame and the foaming.
Nothing made without Him: He moves across
Astronomy and microscope, photon
And planet, from star-studded sky to cross.
Is all this beyond us? Yet He is known;
Takes first steps, like Adam; like Adam, bleeds;
Descends to the stable, ascends the Tree;
Comes to His creation; it knows Him not,
Despised, rejected, a thing forgot.
No fanfare: behold the silent babe
In whom all things were made that were made.
No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
“I and the Father are one.” Such mystery
Finds no answer in biology. Why
Not “I and my mother”? One for a time,
Yet divided at birth, distinct in history.
No, “I and the Father”: one in memory,
In substance and rhythm. Defying rhyme,
They split. The Son descends; the downward climb
Disrupts, unites. The Son descends to me…
A backward glance? What has He left behind?
Yet what is set before Him too: a feast,
Many sons and daughters brought to light.
One being, rent asunder; perfect mind
Never faults in purpose, west to east;
The Three-in-One, creation’s heart delight.
…who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant…
He wraps Himself in light. He orders stars
And plunges to depths unseen since Adam.
Watch the flurry of clouds; watch each atom’s
Disarray as He switches near and far.
Who can make this be? We wonder what You are
That Your disorder should not be random.
Every speck, each stardust spark is planned, on
Cue; wings of night appear, angels in choir –
Listen: the heavens rearrange. He comes down
To dirt, to manger hay, carpenter’s dust.
Fathom this grace? None can. Ever deepening,
Ever plummeting the heart’s mire, it must
Defy our brain’s capacity, must drown
All expectation at this wonder, sleeping.