Poetry, VOLUME 12

Lectionary Poetry – Christmas Week 2 (Year A)

With the dawn of a new church year, we are launching a new feature on our website, a weekly post of poetry that resonates with the lectionary readings for that week (Revised Common Lectionary).

Lectionary Reading: Ephesians 1:3-14

Anaphora of
Basil the Late
Scott Cairns

Found in
Anaphora: Poems

O Holy. O Holy Silent Father

O Mother All Compassionate. O Most

and, yea, allegedly, Most Adoring!
       O Most Still!

We deem it proper, meet, and right enough
       to speak to You

more or less directly—duly or not
       assuming some

interest on your part. We speak to You
       concerning much

You must already know. We often praise
       the majesty

of Your holiness, knowing next to naught
       of holiness;

of holiness we possess scant context.
       Regardless, we

dare to praise You for the sometime sweetness
       of the many

gifts apparently bestowed, and—despite
       our more common

habits of complaint—we praise You, giddy,
       and blinking still

at the intermittent, quiet, subtle,

inexplicable pulse of joy rising,

recurrent daily pain. We acknowledge
       that we should yet

exalt Your dear, capacious names, Your One
       and Holy Name.

We hasten yet to bless You, worship You,
       offer meager

thanks to You, and glorify You, the God
       Who is, Who is,

Who alone occasions life, insofar
       as we can say.

We apprehend with contrite heart, humble
       spirit, that we

should pledge to You our will, our wits, our breath,
       for it is You

Who have thus far deigned to bestow on us
       some little bit

of truth. Who among us can speak of all
       Your mighty works

or of your silence? Who make Your praises
       heard? Who can tell

of the odd miracle at sundry times
       or Your famous

disinclination to meddle in ways

O Master of All, of heaven and earth
       and of all dim

created beings, both the apparent
       and undisclosed,

You sit upon the throne of glory, look
       upon all depths.

You are invisible, unknowable,

without beginning, without change,
       Fathering our

Lord Jesus Christ, our God, our Savior, Whom
       we call our Hope,

Who—in Himself—reveals You, our Maker.
       In Himself, He

proves the living, Unwritten Word, true God,
       Wisdom before

time, through Whom has come the Holy Spirit
       to be revealed,

which Spirit remains the Spirit of Truth,
       the Gift of our

late, filial adoption, pledge of an

yet to arrive. Despite our grim, our gloom,
       remember us.

from Anaphora: Poems by Scott Cairns
Copyright © 2018 by Scott Cairns
Used by permission of Paraclete Press


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One Comment

  1. this is a truly wonderful project. thank you.