Adventia, day 11

For Adventia, day 11 I am featuring a poet I have long held in high regard. Malcolm Guite is a poet, priest, and singer-songwriter. He is Chaplain of Girton College and Associate Chaplain of St. Edward King and Martyr in Cambridge. Best of all, he champions older forms of poetry which, in my view, best encapsulate the cosmos they seek to inhabit. He is especially adept at the sonnet.

On the back cover of Sounding the Seasons: Seventy Sonnets for the Christian Year from which this poem is culled, Luci Shaw says the following, “Each of Malcolm Guite’s sonnets is like a Celtic knot, with threads of devotion and theology cunningly woven into shining emblems of truth and beauty. Whether spoken aloud or read silently, these poems speak to mind and soul.”

Run to the nearest bookstore worth its salt and purchase whatever Malcolm Guite books they have. You will not be disappointed.

Adventia, day 10

The radically counter-cultural nature of the Advent narrative demands poetry of equal heft and teeth. Few are better positioned to contribute such as Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez (15 August 1917 – 24 March 1980). Catholic prelate and later Bishop of El Salvador became a martyr in his outcries against the social injustice and violence amid the escalating conflict in his homeland. He perished by gunshot while serving Mass. His spirit is the very spirit of Advent itself: love invading hate, light invading darkness, righteousness invading chaos.

For Adventia, day 10, I give you…

Adventia, day 8 (second Sunday of Advent)

December 4th. The Second Sunday of Advent. Sometimes, in terms of prophetic Scriptures, the Sunday representing hope. The gravitas of a future better than our past, of something yet to come that outshines the gloom of dark days, uncertain and fear-filled.

I can’t say this is necessarily that, but it is a new one all the same. And, if it helps to birth hope, all the better.

Advent

R. A. Rife

Cup before the pour, cocoa, or tea.

Clouds, rain-swollen, before taking their moment.

Hearts before words, warm and rightly spoken.

Page before pen, story pushing out to meet its maker.

Inside, a child gazes out at virgin snow.

Child, new and eyes closed, before the first embrace.

Car, keys jangling in shaky hands, before first welcome.

Night, old and disheveled, before day-gates open.

Gravitas, bodies’ ache, release of first touch.

Eyes, leaden-lidded, before the thick of sleep.

Tired world, sore of woe, looks East.

Adventia, day 6

Our offering for Adventia, day 6 comes to us by way of the Adventus Project, which did a wonderful Advent exploration a couple years ago. And, of course, C. S. Lewis never disappoints.

What the Bird Said Early in the Year
C.S. Lewis

birdbig

I heard in Addison’s Walk a bird sing clear:
This year the summer will come true. This year. This year.

Winds will not strip the blossom from the apple trees
This year, nor want of rain destroy the peas.

This year time’s nature will no more defeat you,
Nor all the promised moments in their passing cheat you.

This time they will not lead you round and back
To Autumn, one year older, by the well-worn track.

This year, this year, as all these flowers foretell,
We shall escape the circle and undo the spell.

Often deceived, yet open once again your heart,
Quick, quick, quick, quick! – the gates are drawn apart.

Adventia, day 5

Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830 –1894), born in London, was an English writer of romantic, devotional, and children’s poetry. She is also famous for having written the texts of two well-known Christmas carols: “In the Bleak Midwinter” and “Love Came Down at Christmas.”

This poem combines Advent and Lenten themes; the sacrificial Christ pursuing the hospitality and kindness represented by the inn where there was no room for the holy family. The question ever asked of us, “is there room for the Christ within?”

Don’t forget to pop over and visit Real Poets Daily. They’re a wealth of inspiring poetry!

Adventia, day 4

For Adventia, day 4 I submit a poem I composed a few years ago. Rough around the edges perhaps, but I hope it scratches at the surface enough to help us find place in our Advent journey all the same. May the angst, ambivalence, austerity, and frustration of waiting be rewarded in our common longing for the coming Light.

We Wait

Too many moons after too many suns and still –

we wait.

To arise to yet another day with no sight of promised end –

we wait.

My great, great, great grandparents told this same tale. Still –

we wait.

My great, great, great grandchildren, will they tell this same tale?

We wait.

For once pliable, elastic, hope-filled words, spoken from that creepy prophet guy –

we wait.

In hopscotch rhymes, coffee table books, Sunday paper riddles –

we wait.

Faithless ones mock. Faithful ones pretend to believe. Seeking ones struggle to hope –

we wait.

Stuck. In stasis. Solitary, floating in an endless ocean of shark infested water –

we wait.

Nine-year-old boys sneak their umpteenth grab of dinner being prepared a year after lunch –

we wait.

We’ve long ago forgotten or even care about what we were waiting for –

we wait.

Will we even know when the waiting is over?

Still,

we wait…

Adventia, day 2

In my first installment in this series, I explained the origins of my strange, made up word. “Adventia;” as I see it, a poetic foray into the headwaters of Advent – waiting, hoping, and preparing, together with Fragmentia, those literary illuminations of God’s in-breaking into our world to which we may unite the former.

For most of these we’re taking our cue from a favourite Instagram site of mine – #realpoetsdaily Today, we’re blessed by this gem by T. S. Eliot, excerpted from “The Four Quartets.”