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Sunday, November 21, 2004

Forgotten treasure

I don't consider myself possessed of enough intellectual or literary talent to be entitled to a favorite poet. It's as if a Fuzzy Logic Panini Press were found in the kitchen of a 'Grilled Cheese on Wonder Bread' Cook.

Despite that compelling argument, I do indeed have a favorite poet, and his name is Richard Wilbur. Years ago, a friend wrote his doctoral dissertation on Wilbur's work; in my earnest desire to keep up with my friend's intellectual power, I discovered a treasure. In a recent post, TSO reminded me of Wilbur's work, and I got that little prickle of delight that accompanies the memory of something really, really good.

In honor of the approach of Advent, here's my very favorite Wilbur poem.

A Christmas Hymn
"And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.
And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the very stones would immediately cry out." ---St. Luke XIX, 39-40


A stable-lamp is lighted
Whose glow shall wake the sky;
The stars shall bend their voices,
And every stone shall cry.
And every stone shall cry,
And straw like gold shall shine;
A barn shall harbor heaven,
A stall become a shrine.

This child through David's city
Shall ride in triumph by;
The palm shall strew its branches,
And every stone shall cry.
And every stone shall cry,
Though heavy, dull, and dumb,
And lie within the roadway
To pave his kingdom come.

Yet he shall be forsaken,
And yielded up to die;
The sky shall groan and darken,
And every stone shall cry.
And every stone shall cry
For stony hearts of men:
God's blood upon the spearhead,
God's love refused again.

But now, as at the ending,
The low is lifted high;
The stars shall bend their voices,
And every stone shall cry.
And every stone shall cry
In praises of the child
By whose descent among us
The worlds are reconciled.


2 comments:

Therese Z said...

You keep bringing the poetry, and I'll bring the beer and kielbasa! I have a very low tolerance for books of poetry, I get too impatient with it, so it has to be brought out and offered for my inspection and I appreciate it. Thanks. Keep it up.

D.E. said...

The Wilbur poem is used as text for a beautiful hymn named "Andujar". I just posted a recording of it from our Advent concert on my church's Website. If you'd like to listen, it's here: Andujar (MP3). Blessings.

 

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