DAY 365 Thank you (A.R. Ammons)

Thank you

for coming: thank

you for coming along:

the sun’s bright:

the wind rocks the

naked trees

so long.

A.R. Ammons

An early finish to the year, and to the natureandfaith poetry blog for technical reasons. But I’ve loved the journey. Thank you for reading.

DAY 364 Magdalene (Karol Wojtyla)


The spirit has shifted, my body remains

in its old place. Pain overtakes me

to last as long as my body is growing.

Now I can give it food from the spirit

where before there was only hunger.

At times love aches: there are weeks, months, years.

Like the roots of a dry tree my tongue is dry

and the roof of my mouth. My lips are unpainted.

It takes long: Truth sounding out error.

But it is He who feels

the drought of the whole world, not I.

Karol Wojtyla

DAY 363 New Year at Aberaeron (Hilary Davies)

I met my friend as we walked by the shore,

Arm in arm with his lover,

Her white-gold hair flying and tracking the wind.

All four we trod at the turning year

On the shingle-shod ground. In my ear

Was the whip and roar of the shearing sea.

We crossed over the bridge of the harbour

With the sun at our back.

Ah, my husband,

Let me cup your face with my fingers

By the bright houses and the shouting children

Out on the land’s ledge, hung on time’s edge

Where Scorpio with her white arms

Flies up into the twilight,

Where the world’s great arc wheels

And the souls of the darkening boats

Hanker for the sea.

Hilary Davies

DAY 361 Biography (Glyn Maxwell)

He seized the day and shook it as it passed.

And so it passed and so he seized the night

and as he shook it cried I seized the night!

and so it passed.

He took an ancient play and moved the pieces

here and there until he’d made a play

about a man who took an ancient play

and moved the pieces.

It was his year, it was to be the year

it all took off, he had a brilliant spring

and wrote all summer of the brilliant spring

he had that year.

A song was playing which would always now

remind him of those days, when it came on

tonight he said it used to, whack it on

it doesn’t now.

I love it though, he said when it was done.

I always will and all the stars looked down

as they’ll be doing when you set this down

and that’s that done.

Glyn Maxwell

DAY 360 The Birth (Michael Glover)

The Birth

All that needs to be done shall be done.

With the single star standing over,

Solemnity will attend upon the presentation

Of the treasures by the potentates.

Meanwhile, shepherds will blink awake

In the night, and a certain fearsome glory

Will lead them hurryingly down,

Stubbing their bleeding toes a they stumblingly go,

To a cow byre’s homely stink, where a bundled child

Will have the fine-wrought shells of its tiny ears

Cocked to multitudes in the God-gracious heavens above,

Which shall be daubed all over with singing.

Michael Glover

DAY 359 Before the Crib (John F. Deane)

Before the Crib
Unprecedented warmth had kept the herd
out in the fields till Advent; I saw their breathing, mornings,
hover over them like a cloud; later I could hear
snuffling and jostling in the slatted shed, cumbersome
flesh confined, the occasional clang of iron like a deadened
bell ringing. Christmas, I knelt before the crib to see
the ox, watchful over the newly born who held, already,
both hands high in blessing; straw leaded from the patched roof,
Joseph stood, bland and painted, one arm broken off
at the elbow; I sniffed for the stench of cattle in cramped
spaces, finding it difficult to hold belief that here
is God’s handiwork, here eternity has crawled into restricted
times and places, closing the distances between divinity
and dearth, between the heavens and the run-down church;
I wanted everything to change, I was a child, longing,
but without the words to plead. Now I pray, out
of the tragedy that is the history of our endeavour, to find
eternity in the bones of time, malice and greed subsumed
in the outspread hands of the Christ, pray for faithfulness
beyond all guile, that we who are made of a yielding clay
may be, in deed, far more than we imagine.
John F. Deane 

DAY 350 The wooden-shouldered tree is wild and high. (Peter Levi)

The wooden-shouldered tree is wild and high,

it is a plane-tree lighted inwardly,

it imprisons the sun in a cloth of leaf.

That will escape from this world though,

the tree is deliberate, it is life,

it has a musty smell and a shadow.

Bigger breasted than birds, it is breathing,

hangs with a weightless weight on everything,

having considered the sun from time to time

which vanishes in incense and yellow light:

is as silent as fog, the winter gleam

of a small sun and the birds in their flight.

It is courageous and it is alive,

this tree is nine parts of what I believe:

freedom lies in the inward of nature,

and this tree is green fire in a world of trees,

catches blue air, is neither pure nor impure,

but is alive. It is alive and dies.

Peter Levi

DAY 357 A Labourer (R.S. Thomas)

A Labourer

Who can tell his years, for the winds have stretched

So tight the skin on the bare racks of bone

That his face is smooth, inscrutable as stone?

And when he wades in the brown bilge of earth

Hour by hour, or stoops to pull

The reluctant swedes, who can read the look

In the colourless eyes, as his back comes straight

Like an old tree lightened of the snow’s weight?

Is there love there, or hope, or any thought

For the frail form broken beneath his tread,

And the sweet pregnancy that yields his bread?