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CHRISTIANITY AND LITERATURE The Creche There is no comfort or joy Drawn in the suffering of this scene That lists in perspective ink And floats on a discolored whiteness Without star or magi wise To guide lost caravans of cargoed Covenants in the Yuletide Resurrection of childless tableaus Drafting my mother's manger Fusing every worldly enchantment Of summer nativities Unearthed across the ranging rivers And bluffs of flowers and stones On fisheries where the heron roost There is no balm or cradle Of salvation born in this framework Orphan of the spirit world A miracle that never happened As grey lines vanish to snow Upon the thinly thatched and timbered roof Hope lived for some chant or psalm Spelled in the far quadrants of despair For a mother and father Ashed and urned in a bronzed forgetting Their shadows on summer grass Are sequins of color stitched on night In a child's dream of waking In the once upon a time morning 171 172 CHRISTIANITY AND LITERATURE Beside my lay-me-down-sleep Their breaths brush along a shuddered pane Their faces glassed with smudgings Ofnightfall ashes ashes blowing Across a ringlet of moon Sound the creaking turns of their passing In the silent night wheeling them Homeward as bagged portraits for rising From the fire into the creche The fish flashed turtle backed clouds of kings Froth with the watery sheep As the wild reeds and riprap shepherd Their crossing their letting go And the slow rush toward the coming sea JONATHAN STULL ...


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pp. 171-172
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