Geoffrey Hill on Christmas Eve

Staying with a poem  from Geoffrey Hill on a golden hot troubled Christmas Eve, an elderly friend attacked, the stress of living through disruptive times. As so many others have done so often before, leaning only on faith.

 

Picture of a Nativity
Sea-preserved, heaped with sea-spoils,
Ribs, keels, coral sores,
Detached faces, ephemeral oils,
Discharged on the world’s outer shores,
A dumb child-king
Arrives at his right place; rests,
Undisturbed, among slack serpents; beasts
With claws flesh-buttered. In the gathering
Of bestial and common hardship
Artistic men appear to worship
And fall down; to recognize
Familiar tokens; believe their own eyes.
Above the marvel, each rigid head,
Angels, their unnatural wings displayed,
Freeze into an attitude
Recalling the dead.
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