The Nativity

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“The Nativity” from St. Dennis Basilica, Paris

Here is a poem that I wrote for Christmas. It’s in the Terza Rima style, and in it, I tried to depict something of what the Birth of Christ means to me.

 

 

 

I.

The agéd world is buried in the dust
The dust, the dust, blowing hither and yon
All of Man’s many works are draped in rust

Long have the dry winds blown, here and then gone
Scouring the high mountains, the plains, the sea
And the strong Men’s faces grow pale and wan

Many ages have wandered past, weary
Crumbling stones and temples to shards, to shards
The wonder in Man’s eyes begins to flee

Wars have come, all uncounted by the bards
Watering the Earth with blood, young men’s blood
Ah! So many dead gone past Hades’ guards

The Earth is grinding down, down to the mud
Where shadows dwell and shimm’ring mystery
Binds men in tired old ways, crushed ‘neath Time’s flood

In this aged world, at the edge of hist’ry
In a desert, the apex of all lands
Was a man and woman, going swiftly

II.

Tall and strong was that man, with gentle hands
And veins filled with the blood of lords and kings
But small in station and small in his plans

He worked with wood and made such wondrous things
Clear-eyed, swift-loving, full of all virtue
He loved the woman as hawks love their wings

Helped by angels, blessed with wisdom most true
Ordained guardian from before Time flowed
Guarding the holy and most precious Two

Little he spoke, few words, as on they rode
Harrowed by doubts, but then by God ensured
That all would be well, that grace was bestowed

III.

The woman held life in her womb secured
Placed there by the shadow of Divine Grace
For from all stain of sin she had been cured

She bore that light merrily in her face
In her face, the light of the Son come down
From the Heavens to her womb’s sweet embrace

How fine that brow, so soon to bear a crown!
Made the chariot of the Holy Son
Bearing Mercy, Woman of great renown

T’was her “yes” that brought the Heavenly One
She who had been foretold since ancient days
That dear Woman, clothed with the sun

Veins filled with king’s blood, walking in God’s ways
The old Serpent lay crushed beneath her heel
And divine love set her pure heart ablaze

IV.

Through the desert they go, the world to heal
By the Power in the woman’s sweet womb
That is stories come to life, myth made real

Angels sing above; Earth is in full bloom
All the seas rejoice, and all the winds dance
The age-old stars weave wonder on their looms

And now they reach the man’s ancestral manse
A little village, Bethlehem its name
Where kings have been born through hist’ry’s advance

And many others have come just the same
Summoned by an old emperor’s decree
To number their heads, to ensure his claim

So full the town, that not a room was free
And the man and woman went to a stable
An old stable, to birth the great baby

With beasts watching, as if t’were a fable
The Word stepped into the stream of the world
The Word made flesh, beneath a cave’s gable

Almighty, ageless God, His plan unfurled
The Eternal Spirit made incarnate
While overhead the angels joyous whirled

Now in a field, some shepherds lay in wait
Men lowborn but kindly, guarding their flocks
And Heaven broke open, to tell their fate

The angels sang, in the air with the hawks
“Glory, glory, glory! Peace on the Earth
The wolf will lay down with the ox

For now, unto you is the good God’s birth
The foretold Savior given to all men
The prophesied Child, the font of all mirth!”

So the shepherds hastened to the horse-pen
There to see the apex of the ages
The great light shone into the world’s dark den

Angels danced, despite the Serpent’s rages
Man and woman, shepherds and creatures all
Joined with the whole world, and sung His praises

V.

The newborn world shimmers in the dust-fall
The dust-fall, the dust-fall, glimmering bright
And wondering Man must no longer crawl

Long the dry winds blow, capering and light
Dancing o’er the mountains, the plains, the sea
And poor Men smile, blessed in the good God’s sight

The ages are bounding past, happily
For many Men have become God’s children
Adopted in the Son’s Nativity

Peace!

– Jared

“The Nativity” © Jared Schmitz 2015

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