Sunday, December 9, 2012


A Song for Simeon

Lord, the Roman hyacinths are blooming in bowls and 
The winter sun creeps by the snow hills; 
The stubborn season has made stand. 
My life is light, waiting for the death wind, 
Like a feather on the back of my hand. 
Dust in sunlight and memory in corners 
Wait for the wind that chills towards the dead land.

Grant us thy peace. 
I have walked many years in this city, 
Kept faith and fast, provided for the poor, 
Have taken and given honour and ease. 
There went never any rejected from my door. 
Who shall remember my house, where shall live my children’s children 
When the time of sorrow is come? 
They will take to the goat’s path, and the fox’s home, 
Fleeing from the foreign faces and the foreign swords. 

Before the time of cords and scourges and lamentation 
Grant us thy peace. 
Before the stations of the mountain of desolation, 
Before the certain hour of maternal sorrow, 
Now at this birth season of decease, 
Let the Infant, the still unspeaking and unspoken  Word, 
Grant Israel’s consolation 
To one who has eighty years and no to-morrow. 

According to thy word, 
They shall praise Thee and suffer in every generation 
With glory and derision, 
Light upon light, mounting the saints’ stair. 
Not for me the martyrdom, the ecstasy of thought and prayer, 
Not for me the ultimate vision. 
Grant me thy peace. 
(And a sword shall pierce thy heart, 
Thine also). 
I am tired with my own life and the lives of those after me, 
I am dying in my own death and the deaths of those after me. 
Let thy servant depart, 
Having seen thy salvation.
(T S Eliot)
Am I jumping the gun?  Is publishing the poem today Adventicide?  I don't think so, because the meaning of Eliot's words are Adventish in their own way.  Besides, I like the poem.
Collect for the Second Sunday in Advent

Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


it's margaret said...

It is not adventicide to anticipate the great glory to come --I think that's the whole point!

Besides, I, too, like the poem --read it three times! Thank you.

Grandmère Mimi said...

I've read Eliot's poem over and over, too, margaret. I find the words quite moving and just what I needed for today.

Tim Chesterton said...

That's a great collect. I like it a lot better than ours which follows the old Prayer Book in focussing exclusively on John the Baptist. But Advent is about all the prophets. Thanks for sharing it, Mimi!

Grandmère Mimi said...

Do you mind copying and pasting your collect for today, Tim?

Tim Chesterton said...

Almighty God, who sent your servant John the Baptist to prepare your people to welcome the Messiah, inspire us, the ministers and stewards of your truth, to turn our disobedient hearts to you, that when the Christ shall come again to be our judge, we may stand with confidence before his glory; who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever

Grandmère Mimi said...

Oh yes. I like ours better, too Tim. Thanks.

Tim Chesterton said...

This is the original, from the old Book of Common Prayer (1962 Canada, which in this respect is identical to 1662 England):

O LORD Jesu Christ, who at thy first coming didst send thy messenger to prepare thy way before thee: Grant that the ministers and stewards of thy mysteries may likewise so prepare and make ready thy way, by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, that at thy second coming to judge the world we may be found an acceptable people in thy sight; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen