The choir and brass yesterday at the West End UMC Choir Concert were absolutely inspiring. I have been asked to share the texts of the three poems I wrote, and which I read during as part of the concert yesterday afternoon. So here they are for those who are interested.
Just a girl.
I was just a girl.
I knew nothing of men,
Had never known a man – in that way.
Then this stranger appeared.
Neither halo nor wings betrayed
His angelic identity.
“Don’t be afraid,” he said.
Too late – - I was already afraid.
“You are with child.” He said.
This is supposed to comfort me?
“The child is from God,” he said.
I thought all children were.
“You will call him Emmanuel,” he said.
No one in my family is named that.
“He will save his people,” he said.
Who will save me from the stares and sneers of neighbors?
“Do not be afraid,” he said.
“God is with him,” he said.
“God is with you,” he said.
How will I tell Joseph? I wondered.
The Song of the Shepherds
Startled from sleep by the clatter of their wings
Waked by their mewling, blinded by their floodlight eyes
Terrorized by the frozen smiles, of these carolers of God
Don’t be afraid, they shout
Is it a trick?
We bring good news, they squeal
Can we believe?
Of great joy, they scream
For all people, they shriek
Below we shepherds plead, the sheep bleat
Above the night sky catches fire
Let us see if what the angels sang is true.
The glory of God wriggles in flesh and bone.
Let’s see if the world will indeed be made new,
When with common folk like us God makes a home.
A baby is swaddled in strips of cloth
A young mother sings a lullaby
A baby is sleeping in the cattle’s trough
A father whispers a prayer nearby.
Now we have seen what the angels have said.
We will tell the tale on the long road ahead.
Below the old world weeps, the sheep bleat
Above the morning sky bleeds gray
The Song of the Magi
It was a star – led journey West
In search of a child of whom some prophet –
Not even one of our own – had spoken
It is not everywhere that foreigners are treated like royalty.
It is not everywhere that professors are treated like kings.
When? Herod asks.
Just now. Not long ago. We don’t really know.
Where? Herod persists.
These are your prophecies, Herod, you tell us.
In Bethlehem the scholars declare.
In what direction might that lie?
Come and tell me where he is, Herod insists,
And I will see that proper sacrifice is made.
It is not everywhere that toddlers strike terror in kings.
It is not everywhere that children are hunted like prey.
It was a dream-led journey East
Sneaking home to save a child, a king,
- not even one of our own.