A Great Light [Poem For Christmas Eve]

December 25, 2009

Read Isaiah 9:2–7

Only in walking have we seen it.
Around the edge of thick darkness
Around the familiar brick corner
Like a jaded lover, puckering for a kiss,
A great light lurks.

And when, in frantic hours,
we enter hospitals, hotels, motels, restaurants, theatres, courtrooms and prisons,
it’s this same light that steals the hard ground and begins the revisions
Of countless decisions, and awkward, weighty collisions.

This statement runs counter to most we’ve been taught
and to the multitude of angels that we’ve bought
and yet, is true. Is true. Is true. Is true.
A great light lurks
And there’s nothing Assyrian policy can do.

The automatic doors of the ER remain open tonight
For a young mother in flight; she closes her eyes as the doctor shakes his head,
As she hears the monitor-monotone over the bed. How long were they wed?

Never mind. Just never you mind.
On her at least a great light has shined.

Not directly, of course, but slant it slides down
Upon faces with traces of that sad, little clown.

Radiance, we are taught, roars from on high
From a torch or a steeple or a neon sky-scraper
But as it turns out, the city’s illumined with vapor.

A great light lurks
When nothing else works
Not even the car. Not even the fetal position at the bar.
And that guy, let-go, no longer necessary, what’s his name?
Can the severance really remedy his shame?

Never mind. Just never you mind.
On him as well a great light has shined.

And meanwhile, with style, the shoppers resist.
They check Love like a label on the rack,
Incandescent bulbs, revealing everything
the heart wants back. Choose the color according to taste.
Enter the fitting room and pull out the pins. Avoid looking too long
at the tangle of sins, not ageless, in the mirror.

And yet, is true.
Is true. Is true. Is true.

The light of the cosmos
loiters in dust, where all signs say No loitering.
At the mall, where a million shareholders invest
in rust, no one can foresee the landfill of powers,
which already deplete,
and so we repeat.

Jesus, extending his fingers and toes, soaks up the fog of darkness as he goes.
His flesh, so able to bleed,
will finally succeed. And, as the prophets promise in haste,
we awkwardly waste. We awkwardly, gratefully, waste
the dimming digits, the Times Square fidgets.

Waste is the prayer
that weaves a wound or two into the bright fabric.
Waste is that same tunic worn by Mary on the night
she had to believe in despair, when the straw of the manger
infested her hair. And with her jaw set, like a pillar,
against a collapsing roof of pain, we—finally—yes—all of us—
learn a new lesson of ancient birth—where
a great light latches on for Dear Life, and
Dear Death is ripped
to royal
resplendent
rebellious and rowdy
shreds—

each of which
only appears to swaddle the frail infant who
most must emit.

A great light lurks beneath the counter of all these goods—
none of them can be returned during regular business hours.
So, please witness the strain imposed
on each luminous stitch, the shekinah glory of ill-fitting clothes.

Someone brand new will burst through
eventually.
Someone brand new, and yet, is you.
Is you. Is you. You.

Scott Kinder-Pyle
Merry Christmas Latah Valley
2009

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