Two Christmas Poems

This Christmas here are two poems I'm returning to: "The Invisible Seen" —St. Athanasios (c. 298-373, trans by Scott Cairns)

When our dull wits had so declined as to set us mid the squalor of the merely sensible creation, the Very God consented to become a body of His own, that He as one among us might gather our dim senses to Himself, and manifest through such incommensurate occasion that He is not simply man, but also God, the Word and Wisdom of the One.

Thereafter, He remained His body, and thus allowed Himself to be observed. his becoming joined to us performed two appalling works in our behalf: He banished death from these our tender frames, and made of them something new and (take note here) renewing.

“Nativity” —John O’Donohue (1956-2008)

No man reaches where the moon touches a woman. Even the moon leaves her when she opens Deeper into the ripple in her womb That encircles dark, to become flesh and bone.

Someone is coming ashore inside her, A face deciphers itself from water, And she curves around the gathering wave, Opening to offer the life it craves.

In a corner stall of pilgrim strangers, She falls and heaves, holding a tide of tears. A red wire of pain feeds through every vein, Until night unweaves and the child reaches dawn. Outside each other now, she sees him first, Flesh of her flesh, her dreamt son safe on earth.