Advent Poetry

Advent Poetry  by Jane Hirshfield, Kennteh Rexroth and Andrea Gibson

This year I have decided to use poetry in my sermons and prayers for Advent. For those of you that do not know, and truly why would you be expected to, Advent is the church “season” that immediately precedes Christmas. It is a time of waiting, expectation and hope. I will be posting some of my favorite poems that reflect these themes from authors more and less known. I hope you enjoy them.

Today three poems; Hope and Love by Jane Hirshfield, Advent by Kenneth Rexroth and Every Month by Andrea Gibson

Note: In my opinion poetry is not clean and does not always use pretty words or sweet images. If any of this poetry offends you…

Hope and Love by Jane HirshfieldLives of the Heart

All winter

the blue heron

slept among the horses.
I do not know
the custom of herons,
do not know
if the solitary habit
is their way,
or if he listened for
some missing one-
not knowing even
that was what he did-
in the blowing
sounds in he dark .
I know that
hope is the hardest
love we carry.
He slept
with his long neck
folded, like a letter
put away.

Advent by Kenneth Rexroth Kenneth Rexroth

for Brother Antoninus
Rorate coeli, desuper, et nubes pluant
justum. Aperiatur terra, et germinet
Salvatorem*

The year draws down. In the meadows
And high pastures, the green grass veins
The grey. Already the stubble
Fields of green. Orion stands
Another year over California,
Simple and lucent, guarding the full moon.
Dew descends from heaven
Good pours from the clouds.
The earth wavers on its whirling track.
We milk the lantern light. The shadows
Of the cattle are illimitable.
The lantern light knots in gouts of gold.
As the sun retreats, and the moon
Turns its face away and back again,
Following the spinning earth
Like our following lanterns
Through the dark, back to the white breath
Of the cattle, back to smell
Of hay and dung and milk,
Back to the placental
Dark in the abandoned ruins,
God goes again to birth.

from The Collected Shorter Poems of Kenneth Rexroth

*Rorate coeli desuper et nubes pluant justum (Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the just) Aperiatur terra et germinet salvatorem(Let the earth be opened and send forth a Saviour”)

Every Month by Andrea Gibson Pole Dancing to Gospel Hymns

Every month when I get my period
I breathe a sigh of relief and thank God I am not pregnant

‘cause you never know when Jesus is coming back
and you never know who god’s gonna choose next
to be the next Virgin Mary

and can you imagine anything more scary
than staring down between your legs
and seeing the little glowing head of baby Jesus?
Holy shit, no thank you.

I mean what type of bumper sticker would you get?
‘Your son’s an honor student? Yeah well,
my son walks on water and heals lepers motherfucker!

Think of the pressure.
Personally I’d rather give birth to Lucifer,

a fixer-upper, the kind of kid who would sit at the last supper
and complain that Peter got more mashed potatoes,

‘cause god knows
the holy have done more damage to this world
than the devil ever could.

from Pole Dancing to Gospel Hymns

About fatherjeremy

I am a priest in the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Oregon. I am currently the rector of Christ Church, Lake Oswego, OR
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