Northern Advent (poem)

Northern Advent

Scattered desiccated leaves cling to branches
against autumn’s churning winds,
resisting deciduous barrenness,
new coloured prominence of
Red Pine, Juniper, Hemlock.

Feathered, long-distant migrants
soar, flit, and fly from greyed terrain
for southern home and habitat;
wintering chickadees cache seeds
in creviced bark for hunger’s moment.

Poet’s romantic autumnal landscape
lost on those sleeping rough tonight,
rougher for indifferent wind, sleet,
and world.

Wax and wick, strike of match,
white phosphorous flare and flame,
accumulating light in liturgies of longing,
familiar texts reprised, Word spoken,
promises unveiled again as

invitation to wait;
to refuse human penchant for
manufacture, manipulation, and might.
let hope appear, arrive, alight;
soul-nurturing gift and grace.

Church’s faithful turning inward
in charity’s glance toward
“the less fortunate”
self-congratulatory generosity,
giving that redounds to self.

Isaiah’s flaming words inaugurate Advent;
inviting cataclysm in kindled brushwood,
boiled water, shaken cloven earth;
prophet fearful at divine appearing,
shaken by divine absence;

selves alone in consumeristic succession,
generosity and charity become castoffs
piled beside donation bins in the rain;
self-congratulation as detritus.

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