“The King shall come”

The King shall come, when men have proved their worst,
Into the squalor of their ceaseless war
To prove God righteous, merciful, and just,
And lead from shame into a way of peace.

The King has come, announced by herald hosts,
And by his life, his sacrificial death,
And taking up his life again in might
Begun a kingdom that shall never end.

The King shall come when every knee has bent
And every foe surrendered to his rule,
Greeted with acclamation by his folk,
To sit down on his rightful throne on Earth.

I wrote this poem about this time last year, but at that time decided to postpone posting it here until this Advent, since I filled last Advent with my series on the O Antiphons. I tried to distill my understanding of the various subjects of the Advent season, which I meditated on in three prior posts in 2012, briefly into verse with some definite structure.

I earnestly welcome your comments, questions, critique, or other feedback 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), follow this blog for (now only occasional) new poetry (among other things), or get my book, which contains over sixty of my best poems, each paired with a public-domain illustration or drawing. You may also share this poem with others, subject to my sharing policy.

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“Veni, Rex Gentium”

O Lord, of all Earth’s peoples rightful King,
You are the One Whom they have long desired,
The Capstone of the house that God is building,
From Whom all who truly live depend,
But over Whom all who are dead shall fall;
In you, the Father makes all nations one,
That you might rule the world in lasting peace.
Lord, you made humans from the very clay
And breathed your Spirit’s life into their mouths;
Come now, we pray, and save that race of men
That you created; make a lasting end
To war, ambition, hatred, strife, and sin,
And spread your rule in fact to every land. Continue reading

“Veni, O Oriens”

O Morning Star, first of all the sons of light
And source from whom all other lights have sprung,
You shine the splendor of your Father’s glory,
Rising over all his righteous Sun
With healing in your wings for those you call.
Come, Dayspring, break on those who sit in night;
Pour forth abroad your glory’s shining beams
To wake all those who sleep in shades of death. Continue reading

“Veni, O Clavis David”

O heir of David, you who hold his key
Upon your royal shoulder, and who rule
As with his scepter over all God’s house,
We know that none can stand against your will:
If there is any door that you wish shut,
You shut it, and it then stands shut forever,
And there is no gate, however barred,
That can be anything but open wide
When you so will and bid them lift their heads.
Come, O Lord, unto the prison’s darkness,
Where men long languish under death’s despair,
And loose their chains and lead them into life
And unto heaven’s perfect liberty.

This is a verse expansion or meditation on the fourth of the O Antiphons; the first and second poems in this project appeared two weeks ago and last week respectively, and the third on Wednesday. I hope to have the fifth tomorrow and the last two next week.

Blick aus dem Entrée by Henrik Nordenberg Continue reading

“Veni, O Adonai”

O Lord of Hosts, you rule your chosen people
With a deft and mighty outstretched hand,
And have since long before that famous day
You spoke to Moses from the burning bush;
You struck their foes with plagues, then brought them forth
From Egypt, where they lived in slavery,
Then dry-shod through the Sea. On Sinai’s peak
You showed your majesty in smoke and thunder,
And in such an awesome, fearsome, voice
That all who heard it fell and cried with dread
You spoke your law, that all might know your ways.
Now, Lord, your people cry again in anguish,
Laboring under the selfish rule
Of those who hate you: Come deliver us,
Show forth your righteousness, bring low the proud,
And grant your chosen saints to hear your voice.

This is a verse expansion or meditation on the second of the O Antiphons; my poem on the first appeared here last week, and I hope to finish poems based on all seven before Christmas.

Moses on Mount Sinai by Jean-Léon Gérôme

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.

“Veni, O Sapientia”

O living Wisdom, more than merely wise
But Whom all who are truly wise must love,
Your speaking brought the universe to being,
And made time begin its ceaseless pace;
You understand all things in perfect truth,
From galaxies too far to see from Earth,
To particles too quick and small to know,
To every thought a man has ever dreamed,
And knew them all before you made the first.
And all these things are under your control,
So everything must happen as you say,
According to your word and to your plan,
More perfect than a note that’s just in tune.
Come, Wisdom, teach our hearts and mortal minds
To know and always walk in prudent paths,
To shed our folly, and hereafter live
As wiser people, following your ways.

This is a verse expansion or meditation on the first of the O Antiphons (since I relied far more heavily on both the English translation in Wikipedia and the standard Neale-et-al hymn text than on the Latin, I hesitate to call it a translation); I plan to continue on to all of the other six of the antiphons (starting with “Veni, O Adonai”), and post my expanded poetry throughout this Advent season.

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.

Hymn: “O Morning Star, how fair and bright”

We’re nearly a fortnight into the Epiphany season, and after my annual Advent digression and year-end posts (at the end of both the liturgical and civil years), I’ve resumed my usual schedule. Today we look at one of my favorite hymns, a German chorale particularly suitable for the Epiphany season. Continue reading