A Christmas Poem
I am posting here a poem that I wrote on Christmas Day, 2011.
The occasion of this poem was that I went to the Christmas morning Eucharist at St Paul’s Cathedral in London. My flight had only gotten in at seven that morning; I was rather groggy, quite hungry, and extremely cold. The cumulative effect was that some parts of the service were rather blurry but others extraordinarily ‘sharp’: receiving Communion was in the latter category. Hence this poem.
You can click on the title of the poem to hear my reading of it.
I am among the last to take my place
(it is pure grace that I am here at all).
Into my outstretched empty hands is placed
A broken half, a fragmentary Host,
To have enough for those who wait behind.
A wisp of bread, and then a sip of wine,
And I return to sit, and wait, and pray.
A benediction; closing hymn; and then
We all disperse. I do not know a soul
In this great city; not a soul knows me,
But those most dear to me are never far,
Are bound up in the web of living prayer.
I step out to another day, new made.
A tiny flake of bread, a taste of wine;
So little, yet so much: eternal God
Who gives Himself within the things He made.
That broken bread, pressed down into my palm:
So light: yet all the gold of earth and all
The works of man would never tip the scale.
If this were all I had, it is enough.