As I have, recently, been sharing some of my favorite poems relating to Advent and Christmas, I have been aware of the irony of it all. Christmas celebrates “the Word” becoming “flesh”; and poems reverse the process, making “flesh” into “words”. Still, I trust that the appropriateness of the medium has come through in, at least, a general way. To make the connection even stronger, though, I offer the following poem from Luci Shaw. Shaw’s poems are often delightfully mealy; they are best read aloud, letting the words fill your mouth. They are almost chewable. So, I encourage you to find a space where you won’t feel embarrassed to be heard reading the following poem, and give your mouth, ears, and heart a treat.
Blue homespun and the bend of my breast
keep warm this small hot naked star
fallen to my arms. (Rest…
you who have had so far
to come.) Now nearness satisfies
the body of God sweetly. Quiet he lies
whose vigor hurled
a universe. He sleeps
whose eyelids have not closed before.
His breath (so light it seems
no breath at all) once ruffled the dark deeps
to sprout a world.
Charmed by doves’ voices, the whisper of straw,
hearing no music from his other spheres.
Breath, mouth, ears, eyes
he is curtailed
who overflowed all skies,
Older than eternity, now he
is new. Now native to earth as I am, nailed
to my poor planet, caught that I might be free,
blind in my womb to know my darkness ended,
brought to this birth
for me to be new-born,
and for him to see me mended
I must see him torn.