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A Red State Mystic.

REPOST: On the Date of Christmas.

REPOST: On the Date of Christmas.

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The Swoop


(I wrote this at a Midnight Mass in 2008. It is probably the only piece of poetry I've ever written that I'd even try to get published. A very blessed and Merry Christmas to you all, my dear readers, friends and family! I need to shower and get ready for our [almost] Midnight Solemn High Mass!)

Athens says that you were born much later,
In May or June at the latest,
For “shepherds kept their watch by night”
And “by night,“ Holy Writ
Actually meant:
“Shepherds kept their watch by the warm summer night.”
Of course.

But as I sit here (in Jerusalem),
Warmed from frigid temps,
And after numerous attempts
To see the altar over the shoulder
of an exceptionally tall man,
kneeling in a wooden pew,
I can see the wafting clouds of incense, and
I can see the watchful eyes
Of the blood-dried
Crucifix:
(one eye gazing on the crib and one on my sin).
And I believe you were born at Midnight,
When snow fell on snow
In a Church’s manger set-up to the left (by the Tabernacle).

I think you were born at Midnight,
Breaking forth with light --
Neither beauteous nor ghastly.
Ordinary light for a baby
(A baby so vastly Ordinary).
So much that if Our Lady were not so holy,
Perhaps she would have remarked coyly,
“This is it?”
And shook her head and laughed
At the “My soul doth magnify” and all that.
But Our Lady of the Manger Set-up To the Left (by the Tabernacle),
Isn’t laughing,
but gazing and adoring --
Much like the Lady crowned in the heavenly Jerusalem.

You slipped into the world in the dead
Of night,
You slipped into the world in the dead
Of winter,
Bringing salvation -- the Word -- to those who were dead
Of heart.
Slip into this heart, O Lord,
Like you once did in the womb of Our Lady,
Like you once did in that stable so shady,
So ordinary, so vastly ordinary.

And through your peace,
free me from these bonds,
So ordinary, so vastly ordinary.

Of course, we’re probably idiots to keep some outdated,
Probably pagan date
Probably cooked up by a certain
Pope Leporus --
or was it Septus
. . . Clementine the XXIII?
Whatever.
Modernity rushing to our Medievalness with aid,
“Come out of Jerusalem -- that unclean thing!”
While those Post-Modernites smarmily sit and say,
“I think its quite nice. Whatever works for ‘they!’”
Athens, Athens all-around disagreeable with our Winter Feast.

But as I walk out into the frigid air,
And gaze up at the starry firmament,
Once gazed upon by Abraham,
And Jesus
And that Pope who set the date,
I realize that I don‘t care about objections
About the date or the precise moment,
Treating it as if it is more scientifically special than the rest of these moments. . .
For what does Athens have to do with Jerusalem
When it comes to changed hearts?
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