Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I’ve never written a Christmas poem, but this year seems to be the year for publishing poetry, as evidenced by three books of poems published in 2009, so I’m including the poem below in this year’s production. I think it’s important to say that the meditative space at the little convent of St. Mary’s on The Mountain (pictured above) provided inspiration for the Muse many times during the past year. The gray stone chapel fortress on the bluff, the good Sisters, dressed in their blue jumpers and white blouses, continually offering prayers and worship, and the feeling of community engendered by these blue angels–all provided vision for an expanded spiritual life. Here’s one of the results:


The Word prospering from a poor beginning,
the sacred march to Bethlehem,
driven by longing for something beyond,
Joseph wanting to be counted, to stay within
the crumbling margins of the acceptable.
Imagine Mary’s rude place in the straw
and her alienation on the darkest bed,
good births often occurring
on the threshing floor of the world.

I doubt that she cared about the rudeness
or the restless animals that paced in their stalls,
lying in a place she knew she would forget
as soon as she held the star-crossed infant
and gazed down at the Word prospering,
covering Him with her blue shawl,
a feckless protection, startled by that wail
foretelling undisclosed agony.

And what prescience overcame her,
even in her new rapture,
that she would know in the night of stars
lay a proclamation and a declamation,
her birthing would deliver death,
a link of joy and loss.

She would be elevated as He was elevated,
the Word prospering from a poor beginning,
no one would remember the hour of joy
forever after depicted
as this expression of maternal agony,
and He would be held accountable
for what man had done to man,
believing the substitution would clear
all who would assassinate one another.

Before his altar, the one of stony wood
not offering the comfort of mercy
but the diversion of sacrifice,
we feel the desire for goodness,
a sense of the numinous,
but have inherited the ground of Golgotha,
uttering mysterious promises
that the Word will prosper,
that we can get behind the beauty
on our compulsive quest,
are entrusted with His speech
of freedom and joy,
yet linked to the poor beginning,
straw on the threshing floor,
animals pacing in their stalls,
there-the Madonna and Child,
a last exhilarating vision,
the world’s slow redemption.

Thank you for your interest and responses this year. I wish you the blessings of this Christmas season. Diane+
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