Second Candle: Advent is Slowing

One candle grows short, a second descends,
And three others wait for the rising of light.
Wicks burn down and dwindle, yet hope still appends
The longing of prayers in the slow Advent night.
In the day, though the shouting of sun may shut out
The lamenting of captives, yet watch in the night,
For Advent is slowing: our rushing, our doubt,
Our “everything-must-be-done-by-this-time”.
Yes, Advent is dwindling – right down to the quick –
And Advent is hoping, and looking, though sight
Is obscured, and deferred hope makes the heart sick.
Advent is finding new candles to light:
When the length of the waiting diminishes cheer,
The light still will flicker, to shut out all fear.

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First Candle: Advent is Waiting

Nocturne

Dance the night amidst the mist and

hover cloud above the earth;

sing the streets in silent vigil,

sleep the world aright.

 

Water soil, the dew of nighttime,

watch the sleeping grasses grow;

let the nocturne song surround you

as you come and go.

 

Rain falls on the just and unjust;

nighttime falls on both.

Woken by the same song’s sunshine,

lift us both to grace.

Last Light: For the Winter Solstice

On the shortest day, I walked down to
            the garden where, stretched out across
                        the grass, the out-turned
                                    fingers of
                        peace received
                                    the night soon here.
 
Vestigial glow bedecked the trees
            and roof-tops sank, the light soon gone.
                        In the evening cool the
                                    streets were
                        softly swept
                                    by homeward feet.
 
But I had left my home to see the light;
            I traced its steps from pallid green
                        treetops to underpass
                                    and marvelled at
                        its retreat
                                    and dusk’s perfect lull.
 
Pink clouds settled to evening grey, yet
            the story was not sad: the day
                        was gift, was treasure.
                                    And how glorious!
                        how perfectly bright the light
                                    set against the dark.

Number Nine

Darkness

 

Carlton kept in darkness slept,
            The streetlights out, the roadside swept
With rain that afternoon and feet
            Bewildered by the night.
 
The city never sleeps, they say,
            And anxious souls in search of day
Pit-pattered while inside the homes
            Smart-phones took place of light.
 
Commerce halted, leisure paused,
            Proprietors despised the cause,
While some found hope across the street
            Where power caught their sight.
 
Not quite as thick as Egypt’s, though
            A danker hue than cities know,
The darkness over Lygon Street
            Unsettled with its bite.
 
Yet refuge lay where light still shone,
            And in the end, it came back on
Across the street, and Carlton spun
            Back into groove, aright.
 
The sounds of muffled life returned
            And in the sky the streetlights burned,
Declaring never would the day
            Depart, nor win the fight.

Bursting Dimensions

Wassily Kandinsky, "Composition X" www.artchive.com
Wassily Kandinsky, “Composition X”
http://www.artchive.com

If you really believe,
then the day
and the dull of its light won’t confine
the dimensions of sight;
you may look through the night
and see there
the promise of Life.

Do you really believe?
On your way
through the frontiers of darkness and time,
you may feel all your might
leak out into the night,
yet the Word
will strengthen your sigh.

Therefore – really believe
for you may.
Though you leap in the dark, soon the sky
will erupt with true Light.
That day, yesterday’s plight
will be silent
at Faith’s firm reply.

Nocturne

     Give –
at the bending of the knee,
at the turning-down of the sheets,
at the folding of the hands in sleep –
    give, receive and rest.

    Give the day:
its unresolved agonies,
its fragments, its drafts
and all the things we’d best forget.
Give, and let it sleep.

    Receive:
the table lies open.
Feast as the night declares:
Sufficient to itself the burdens
and stresses of the morn.

    So rest:
the creek bids you lap, unweary.
Your enemies will not dare come
within an inch of where you lie.
The night is now your friend.

    And watch:
in tender mercy,
the dawn from on high
will break in fold of light and bring
new truth to bear on all.