O Root of Jesse’s stem, O Righteous Branch,
You stand amid the peoples as a sign
Of God’s authority, presence, and power,
As if the highest flag within their gates
Or like the serpent Moses lifted up.
Before the unveiled glory of your presence
None can speak, and even kings fall dumb
Who throng to seek your guidance and your face
(As even righteous Job when God appeared),
But nations that revere your name in love
Cry out to you in times of their distress,
In trust that you will hear their earnest prayer:
Come, Root of Jesse, come, deliver us
From all oppressors, those who hold us bound
In fruitless ways of death, or seek our life.
Come, hasten, Lord; how long will you delay?
This is a verse expansion or meditation on the third of the O Antiphons; the first and second poems in this project have appeared in this space on the last two Fridays, and I hope to finish poems based on all seven antiphons before Christmas.
As always, I earnestly welcome your questions, suggestions, or other comments about this or any other part of my work. If you’d like to read more of my poetry, you can read my archive (also organized in more manageable installments); get my book, which contains over sixty of my best poems, each paired with a public-domain illustration or drawing; or follow this blog for (now only occasional) new poetry (among other things). You may also share this poem with others, subject to my sharing policy.