Descent; A Christmas Poem

mangerHappy Christmas!

Milton wrote an Ode on the Morning of Christ’s Nativity, which no one can hope to emulate, but in the following poem I have followed his lead in drawing a contrast between the various gods of the Classical world and the full and astonishing revelation of God’s love in the manger at Bethlehem. This was originally a short three verse poem, but at the behest of Steve Bell I have re-written it so that it is now also a song, with a tune of his composing on his wonderful new Album Keening for the Dawn. I have written about our collaboration here.  I have also recorded  a reading of this poem which you can hear by clicking on the ‘play’ button below or the title


They sought to soar into the skies

Those classic gods of high renown

For lofty pride aspires to rise

​But you came down.

You dropped down from the mountains sheer

Forsook the eagle for the dove

The other Gods demanded fear

But you gave love

Where chiselled marble seemed to freeze

Their abstract and perfected form

Compassion brought you to your knees

Your blood was warm

They called for blood in sacrifice

Their victims on an altar bled

When no one else could pay the price

You died instead

They towered above our mortal plain,

Dismissed this restless flesh with scorn,

Aloof from birth and death and pain,

​But you were born.

Born to these burdens, borne by all

Born with us all ‘astride the grave’

Weak, to be with us when we fall,

​And strong to save.


Filed under imagination

11 responses to “Descent; A Christmas Poem

  1. andrew know

    Sublime – thank you and warmest greetings.

  2. Wonderful! Printed out and hung on the wall….
    Happy Christmas to you.

  3. Valerie Dickau

    Went to hear Steve Bell sing this awesome and inspiring song ten days before Christmas. He payed tribute to you, Malcolm, both in his funny anecdotes and in song. Now THIS is Christmastide!!!
    Hope you, Andrew and my friend, Lori Tischler can have a “meet and greet” at the C. S. Lewis retreat down in Houston area next fall.

    Blessings from Edmonton, AB. Canada

  4. Pingback: Steve Bell and Malcolm Guite Slated for CS Lewis Conference/ San Diego July 21-23, 2013 | Steve Bell | Singer, Songwriter, Storyteller

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  7. Bernie Wilson

    Phenomenal! Simple truth.

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