Lay me down

Wrap me tightly and constrict my movement.
Not so much that I cannot breath
but as close as possible to that point of no return
that at times it seems there is little difference.

Is this comfort?

Present me with Gold that I have no hands free to spend
or Frankincense that I cannot light;
Place the Myrrh tantalisingly close,
reminding me that in time they will take the cloths
and wrap me tightly again

I am the man with no money
watching you buy your treats and gifts
wanting the spiced latte
but penniless and unloved
laying down his head
next to countless, whisky-breathed others.

I am the father
watching his son rip his presents open
and wondering why the joys of the season
still cannot mask the sorrows
of the absent second-born.
Hopes and dreams burned away
and now ground to dust.

I am the woman
buried at noon with no family by the graveside,
the solicitor staying just long enough in church
to fulfil the letter of the law.
The minister lonely,
pleading for mercy in the absence of evidence.

Commands bequeathed but not yet understood

Turn then, and crack open the oil
and when you have finished with the tent,
the ark, the table, the lampstand and basins
turn to the altar
and there pour out the oriental gift
for I am still tightly bound
and cannot escape the High Priest’s knife.

It cuts deep
and with each stab the pain increases
yet so does the adoration.

You might argue that with each motion of the blade
the cloths are being sliced away
but this I cannot see
for you have not removed the bandage
binding my head.

So as yet,
my eyes still do not perceive
that which they expectantly hope for.

Peter Ould
23rd December 2009

Posted in Christmas, Home Life, Poetry Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
  • Sibyl

    Oh, Peter, thank you! How absolutely beautiful. I love it that you are both priest and poet.

    Your poem perfectly expresses the pain and sorrow, of faith and of transformation/sanctification, especially:

    “…the High Priest’s knife.

    It cuts deep
    and with each stab the pain increases
    yet so does the adoration.”

    In the adoration is the consolation…and the rest for us…in Jerusalem. The furnace is in Jerusalem…there HE refines His own beloved children. (Hebrews 12; Isaiah 31:9)

    There are sorrows and griefs that change us forever as Robert Frost wrote in ‘To Earthward.’

    II Corinthians 1:3-4

    Blessings and peace to you and your family.

  • Sue

    A very moving poem.

  • Rachel


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Almighty God, who gave such grace to your apostle Saint Andrew that he readily obeyed the call of your Son Jesus Christ and brought his brother with him: call us by your holy word, and give us grace to follow you without delay and to tell the good news of your kingdom; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

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