I may have saved the best for last.

I never speak in absolutes about favorite books or poems or writers, but I think Luci Shaw’s “Made Flesh” is my favorite poem for Advent.

Of course, I’ve mentioned Luci Shaw a few times before. Advent may be pouring itself out into the glory of the Christmas season, but Shaw’s poetry is an excellent literary companion through the whole year. Might I suggest beginning the new year with her poems close at hand?

This one is worth reading slowly.

And repeatedly.

 

three flames\

 

Made Flesh

 

After

the white-hot beam of annunciation

fused heaven with dark earth,

his searing, sharply focused light

went out for a while,

eclipsed in amniotic gloom:

his cool immensity of splendor,

his universal grace,

small-folded in a warm, dim

female space –

the Word stern-sentenced to be

nine months’ dumb –

infinity walled in a womb,

until the next enormity –

the Mighty One, after submission

to a woman’s pains,

helpless on a barn’s bare floor,

first-tasting bitter earth.

 

Now

I in him surrender

to the crush and cry of birth.

Because eternity

was closeted in time,

he is my open door to forever.

From his imprisonment

my freedoms grow,

find wings. Part of his body,

I transcend this flesh.

From his sweet silence my mouth sings.

Out of his dark I glow.

My life, as his,

slips through death’s mesh,

time’s bars,

joins hands with heaven,

speaks with stars.

 

–          Luci Shaw, from Accompanied by Angels

 

Maplehurst

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