“Advent Calendar” by Rowan Williams

by Kim on November 29, 2009

He will come like last leaf’s fall.
One night when the November wind
has flayed the trees to the bone, and earth
wakes choking on the mould,
the soft shroud’s folding.

He will come like frost.
One morning when the shrinking earth
opens to mist, to find itself
arrested in the net
of alien, sword-set beauty.

He will come like dark.
One evening when the bursting red
December sun draws up the sheet
and penny-masks its eye to yield
the star-snowed fields of sky.

He will come, will come,
will come like crying in the night,
like blood, like breaking,
as the earth writhes to toss him free.
He will come like a child.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }


Sarah McGiverin 12.01.09 at 1:49 am

This is fantastic! I didn’t know that Rowan Williams writes poetry. Is this published in a collection somewhere?


Kim 12.01.09 at 5:35 pm

It is quite brilliant, isn’t it, Sarah? I reckon it will take its place among the truly great Advent poems. It will certainly grace any service of lessons, verse, and carols.

I came across “Advent Calendar” in the Church Times a few years back. It is not in any of Rowan’s three published volumes of poetry:

After Silent Centuries (1994)
Remembering Jerusalem (2001)
Headwaters (2008)

They are all superb. The man is just too bloody gifted!


Oliver Nicholson 11.24.10 at 5:00 am

It has been set to music as an anthem, by someone called Beattie - very beautifully.

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