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Advent, Day 14

We're going to linger with Mary for another day or two.  Below is a poem by Reynolds Price, one of my favorite authors and poets. (He's from North Carolina, but worked a Duke for a long time.  I overlook that part of his life.)  He writes beautifully about southern people and has a deep knowledge of the Bible.  Here is his peom, Annunciation.

The angel tries to imagine need.
Till now he has not stood near a girl-
Odd generals, magistrates, prophets in skins-
And since his mission is to cry "Beloved!"
And warn of the coming down on her
Of absolute need, he pauses to study
Her opaque hands- both open toward him-
And strains to know what need could draw
The Heart of Light to settle on this
Dun child, clay-brown, when curved space
Burns with willing vessels compounded of air.
He feels he is failing; is balked by skin,
Hair, eyes dense a coal.
"Beloved" clogs his throat.  He blinks.
Nothing needs this.  He has misunderstood.

The girl though has passed through shock to honor
And begins to smile.  She plans to speak.
Her dry lips part. "Me."  She nods.

The low room fills that instant with dark
Which is also wind- a room not two
Of her short steps wide, plugged with dark
(Outside it is three, March afternoon)
In the cube, black as a cold star's core,

One small point shines- her lean face
Licked by a joy no seraph has shown,
An ardor of need held back for this
And bound to kill.

But slowly she dims,
The room recovers, she opens a fist.

The angel can speak. "Rejoice, beloved!"

The girl laughs one high note, polite-
Cold news- then kneels by her cot to thank him.

As we look forward to the birth of Christ, we cannot also forget the death and resurrection of Jesus.  This is no ordinary boy born in a manger.  It is he, the one who saves us from our sin, the one who is the savior of the world!


Posted by Laurie Weicher at 7:00 AM
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