Milton wrote an Ode on the Morning of Christ’s Nativity, which no one can hope to emulate, but in this 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 award-winning 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.
15 responses to “Descent; A Christmas Poem”
Thank you thank you thank you!
Your reading voice added much to the beauty of your writing. Have a blessed Christmas.
Thanks! Have a good Christmas!
I wish I could say something more profound about this poem, but it leaves me speechless. All I can say is that it is beautiful! Merry Christmas!
Wow. What a small world. I heard Steve Bell sing this song at his concert here in Calgary on December 18th! Merry Christmas Malcolm and thank you for the gift of your words.
So much hope for me here. A favorite. Merry Christmas to you and your family from Mississippi. – Matthew Clark
Sent from my iPhone
Thanks. And a merry Christmas to you and yours
Beautiful. Simple. Stirring.
Thank you Malcolm. Read aloud to the family over the post present detritus this morning.
Thanks. I’m honoured!
Thank you for this Christmas poem – it warmed our family’s hearts on this cold, bright morning.
With much gratitude from Canada,
Thanks Dean glad you enjoyed it. Merry Christmas.
Happy Christmas to you too, Malcolm! I am really enjoying your posts! Thank you.
Thanks Eileen. I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog
Pingback: More About “Descent” | Faye Hall