The Christmas Silence
Here in the cloister they who seek discover
A wandered fragment of the Christmas silence
That hid itself from the disquieted earth:
The silence of the Virgin bending over
The little Uncreated Innocence
Upon the bed of a most hidden birth,
The silence that was Joseph's sacrament
Through years that were a threshold to this
And which was seed and stem to the white
That blossomed on his rod,
The speechlessness of the unlettered shepherds
Who stood amazed before the Lamb of God.
The angels sang at Christmas, but their
Was like a stillness to the inner ear,
And soft as petals from a shaken bough.
They who go walking in the Christmas silence
Through any season of the changing year
Come to a Man with peace upon his brow
And see the Mother and the Infant near.
This house, as once the Saint of Alcantara
Said of Teresa's, is the little hospice
Cloister or cave- its solitudes shall be
The dwelling of a human trinity
And they who enter learn a wordless language
And the Divine Untold addresses them.
Let the door be open wide
And no blind be down at all,
For maybe she'd be walking
With the child within her shawl;
And how could we be bearing
The weight of shame and sin,
If she'd pass upon the roadway
With no light to guide her in?
Let the chair be readied now,
And the fire kept burning bright;
For sorely she'll be needing
The rest and warmth this night.
The rushes too be spreading
Upon the earthen floor,
To make it sweet and wholesome
Her blessed feet before.
Full oft I've heard the story
How once this night were known
To rest within a shieling
Three strangers meek and lone;
But dawn did yield no tidings
Of man, or maid, or child:
T'was Joseph's self was in it,
And Christ, and Mary mild.
So set the candles burning
Upon each window high,
And leave the door wide open
To guide their footsteps nigh:
Right warmly they'll be welcome
To share our hearth-fire bright-
For Mary's sake in heaven-
Who walk the wilds this night.
Let Me come in - By Richard Bugg