Friday, December 18, 2009
The Advent and Triumph of Christ 1480
(b. ca. 1440, Seligenstadt, d. 1494, Bruges)
As we approach the Last Sunday in Advent I am reminded of the beautiful Advent Song written by Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C. [late Abbess of the Colettine Poor Clare monastery in Roswell, New Mexico]
Lady, what songs are bending
The tall grasses of your mind,
What secret music whispers down your veins,
What wax-leaf ponderings, O Virgin Mary,
Waken our little shouts of expectation?
Our thoughts have lumbered down a treeless highway,
Have sputtered their heavy loftiness, have wept
Their protest. Now we hear the distant birdcall
Oh, dimly! but the woods have heard it well.
The stars are singing in their stupefaction,
The giddy little hills are clapping hands.
But Lady, what songs sway
The supple grasses of your thoughts,
What secret music whispers down your veins?
Glorious things are said about this city
Where the small citizen Christ moves in the lanes
Of so-brief arteried comfort; but what songs
Drift through this templed alabaster town?
We see the windows lighted, Virgin Mary,
City of God, by every hymn we raise
With chipped and broken voices, and our feeble
Vision guesses sacred silhouettes.
But when the little Seed fell in the furrow,
The warm and spotless furrow of your heart,
Tell us what pure songs stirred your delicate wonder,
What secret music whispered down your veins.
...and I wonder what was in her heart and in her mind on that journey to Bethlehem.