poetry

Christina Rossetti – Christmas

We often think of “In the Bleak Mid-Winter” when we think of Christina Rossetti’s Christmas poems. In fact she wrote many others. The following was written years before “In the Bleak Mid-Winter”.

 

A Christmas Carol

Source: The Poetical Works of Christina Georgina Rossetti, with a Memoir and Notes by William Michael Rossetti (1904)

Before the paling of the stars,
Before the winter morn,rossetti
Before the earliest cockcrow
Jesus Christ was born:
Born in a stable,
Cradled in a manger,
In the world His Hands had made
Born a Stranger.

Priest and King lay fast asleep
In Jerusalem,
Young and old lay fast asleep
In crowded Bethlehem:
Saint and Angel, Ox and Ass,
Kept a watch together,
Before the Christmas daybreak
In the winter weather.

Jesus on His Mother’s breast
In the stable cold,
Spotless Lamb of God was He,
Shepherd of the Fold:
Let us kneel with Mary Maid,
With Joseph bent and hoary,
With Saint and Angel, Ox and Ass,
To hail the King of Glory.

26 August 1859

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Past Advent Poems 11- 16

What Lord?

So You Think …

mary crop

The Shepherds – A Narrative

 

The Inn Keeper – Correcting the Record.

The Magi

Immanuel

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Zechariah

Zechariah

(Luke 1)

 

So it was our clan’s turn

And the dice rolled in my favour.

Beth will be happy.

The old dear has always been  proud

When I get my day in the temple.

 

With people praying outside

I was inside and about to light the incense

 

And then …

And then …

You wouldn’t believe it …

Next to the altar of incense …

You wouldn’t believe it …

We hadn’t seen one in hundreds of years.

An angel!

AN ANGEL!

Nearly scared the life out of me!

 

“Don’t be afraid,”  he said.

Easy for him to say!

Then he goes on,

Beth, the old girl, will have a son.

Beth!

At her age!

“Call him John,” he said.

Not even a family name.

He was to grow up like a Nazirite

– So no alcohol.

And he will turn people back to God.

How can this be? I said.

 

And then I said no more.

I couldn’t. I couldn’t talk.

This angel Gabriel,

As called himself,

Struck me dumb.

Until now as I hold John

In my arms.

And I can praise God!

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Waiting – an Advent poem

Waiting

Waiting is hardChartres Blessing

Fingers twiddling

Feet tapping restlessly

Mind wandering

Head scratching

Watch looking

Pacing.

 

But

Advent is not just

waiting

But expecting

Looking forward

Anticipating

.. even more, longing

 

For the Messiah

The Christ

The Saviour

 

Waiting

… and now

For His return.

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Sin had slithered …

 

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers;  he will crush your head,  and you will strike his heel.”

Gen 3:15

Sin had slithered in

and God living harmony

destroyed.

Life and love became terminal.

Hope less.

 

Through the human

silence of the guilty

in the garden

the Word spoke again.

 

Sin and love

declared enemies.

One must go.

 

An enemy crushed.

A head abolished

forever.

 

The cost:

The Godman would come

From the broken

Mother of the living.

A divine son slain.

A Word crucified

so that love

and harmony

will rise and rule again.

 

 

Pieter Stok

 

 

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The Practice Exam

 

The room is nervously quiet.

A heater gently hums.img_1053

There is the rustling of twitching pages.

Then the reading time finishes

and the starting gun booms  in explosive silence.

The click and scratch of pens flinch in earnest.

Unseen but real

nervous energy tensions the air.

Minds ponder,

details are rummaged for in far recesses

while palms sweat.

 

Only to know that this is “practice”

and it needs to be done all over again.

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The Footprints We Leave

We left footprints in the sand.

Mine large,

His small.

His dancing with excitement

In circles and jumps.

Mine in a straight line, alert

cautious.

 

A sand castle here,

A shell there.

Seaweed, seagullsimg_1046 and sticks.

Exciting materials,

to explore and investigate.

 

His steps will become larger.

Mine will fade.

But there was a time

when we walked on the beach

together.

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Unlocking and Enabling

Nothing thrills an English teacher more than seeing students become excited about words.

Recently a poet visited the school and held a workshop with a group of students. I sat at the back of the room and observed the class. Cameron, the poet, slowly removed the restraints on the students’ imagination through a variety of sensing and imagining exercises and then they wrote, explored, refined and developed their ideas.

The results were astounding. Some of the students, usually retiring and shy, read their marvelous poems and received praise from their fellow students.

What impressed me was the depth and complexity of thought that some of these poems revealed: reflections on life, living and creation that went beyond the mundane. It reminded me again of the teacher’s task to “unlock” and “enable” – to unlock the talents that that are there and to pass on the skills that enable the those gifts and talents to be developed.

It is humbling to watch a good teacher applying their skills and it is exhilarating to see the results.

 

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Where is the exit?

Cataract Gorge in Flood

Change.

An epidemic!

Wherever I turn

It seems to be catching.

An avalanche of

Change.

My heads spins.

Past certainties

Are no longer certain.

Past truth is dismissed

As lies.

An unstoppable

tsunami of

Change.

Courts say that

Men can marry men.

We trash our world

Faster than ever.

China rises,

The West sinks.

Medicine gives life

And we kill it

More effectively.

Change.

The roller coaster is relentless.

Which way is up?

Is there is no getting off

… except at the final station?

 

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And He Was There

Image: Courtesy, Wikipedia

Image: Courtesy, Wikipedia

What does God see when He sees us worshipping?

And He Was There

  1. Worshipping when I was younger – mid last century

There was a custom and tradition

that, years ago, meant

meeting twice

on the Sunday.

Morning AND evening –

starting the day and closing the day

with God.

Best suits,

hats and dresses:

“No corduroy son!

Would you meet the queen in that!”

My father barked.

 

The worship,

like the pews, was stern and formal.

Faces serious and

attention strict, as eyes

focussed forward.

Fidgeting children were pinched,

prodded and glared into conformity.

 

And God was there

in the droning, reverie inducing words,

everlasting musty organ hymns,

peppermints,

and Eau de Cologned hankies.

 

And He was there

when the bread was broken

and the wine sipped

during the quarterly

communion:

when I was left behind

for a moment’s freedom.

 

And He was there

As I counted the

Organ pipes,

Bannister rails

And made mind pictures

With the patterns of the wooden ceiling.

And later,

He was still there

when I stumblingly

declared my youthful faith.

And despite my fear induced amnesia,

He was there

when I declared my love for my bride.

And He was there when our children

received His promises

in baptism.

 

Yes,

He was there.

Categories: christian, Church, Poem, poetry | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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