Advent to Candlemas (Vol. 1)

Another Mary

1. Your azure veil and flowing gown
Suffused with God's eternal light
Conceal the ferment in the town,
The squalor of that fateful night:
Was it a star or smoking torch
That guttered in the stench and storm,
Was it devotion or debauch
Which filled the shepherds with alarm?

2. The angel Gabriel's embassy
And your inspired Magnificat
Speak of unflawed serenity,
Predestined by Divine Fiat:
But were Your thoughts so wholly calm,
Confronted with the social shame,
And were you safe from hurt and harm
For what You did in Jesu's name?

3. That halo of serenity
Which marks you out as strong and meek
Conceals profound uncertainty
Which tyrants visit on the weak:
Had You heard rumours from the kings
That added grimness to Your smile;
Did you recall the sufferings
Of Israel's children by the nile?

4. Mary, for all the artist's art,
For all the beauty you inspire,
I love you for the young girl's heart,
The raw salvation of desire:
For in the guise of harassed grace
I see you daily in the street
With heavy load and tear stained face,
Unsteady shoulders and sore feet.

5. And I might never come to see
Your likeness in Our Saviour's face
If you were dressed like royalty,
Familiar but out of place:
But, as you are, I am not shy
To bring a gift to please your child,
For you, like Him in majesty,
Are love itself but slightly wild.