Advent 1 – The Coming

 

And God held in his hand

A small globe. Look he said.

The son looked. Far off,

As through water, he saw

A scorched land of fierce

Colour. The light burned

There; crusted buildings

Cast their shadows: a bright

Serpent, a river

Uncoiled itself, radiant

With slime.

                       On a bare

Hill a bare tree saddened

The sky. Many People

Held out their thin arms

To it, as though waiting

For a vanished April

To return to its crossed

Boughs. The son watched

Them. Let me go there, he said.

The Coming, RS Thomas

https://www.poeticous.com/r-s-thomas/the-coming

Advent is one of my favourite liturgical seasons. There’s something magical about it, but it so easily gets swept up in the pre-Christmas preparations, from shopping for presents or preparing food, to parties and catch-ups with people you haven’t spoken to since last Christmas. This year I was trying to get all those things done early partly because I wanted to keep Advent feeling distinct and special – lots of Christmas presents have been bought, but they aren’t wrapped and I haven’t made cards yet, so some preparations are inevitably going to end up sneaking in! To try and keep focused I’m going to try and write one Adventy blog a week and share poems and Advent carols or hymns if there are appropriate ones! 

Yesterday was Advent Sunday, and I went to an Advent carol service (you can read the reflection here, written by my mum – https://priscillavicar.wordpress.com/2018/12/02/advent-reflection-and-the-words-of-the-prophets-after-simon-and-garfunkel/. It was a lovely service with some excellent hymns, including a few of my favourites. I can’t sing at all, but congregational singing always makes me happy.

The poem I’m sharing today is by RS Thomas, a Welsh poet from the 20th century who was also an ordained Anglican priest – I first encountered him at a study at an SCM weekend away, led by our former General Council chaplain Dylan. He mixes theology and poetry in a really beautiful way that helps me appreciate both all the more.I’m not going to try interpreting the poem here – bring to it what you will.

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