Sunday, December 21, 2008

For the Fourth Sunday of Advent

William Everson (for many years a Dominican monk, Brother Antoninus, O.P.) was one of the really wonderful American poets of the mid-20th Century. He lived in Santa Cruz, California, and Susy and I heard him read at Wheeler Hall, U.C. Berkeley, in the early 1980's. He died in 1994. Since Deacon Chess is preaching at St. Andrew's this morning, I thought I'd share this.

Out of the Ash

Solstice of the dark, the absolute
Zero of the year. Praise God
Who comes for us again, our lives
Pulled to their fisted knot,
Cinched tight with cold, drawn
To the heart’s constriction; our faces
Seamed like clinkers in the grate,
Hands like tongs—Praise God
That Christ, phoenix imortal,
Springs up again from solstice ash,
Drives his equatorial ray
Into our cloud, emblazons
Our stiff brow, fries
Our chill tears. Come Christ,
Most gentle and throat-pulsing Bird!
O come, sweet Child! Be gladness
In our church. Waken with anthems
Our bare rafters! O phoenix
Forever! Virgin-wombed
and burning in the dark,
Be born! Be Born!

William Everson (Brother Antoninus, O.P.)

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