We tripped, and falling forward into Advent
we blundered into waiting, unprepared
the altar purpled; candles spluttering
a welcome for the hesitating king.
As candles marked the time we took to walk
the plodding path, something unfolded there:
our ancient fathers knowing floods would come
prepared to sail to a different home
and prophets wept alone in wilderness
and desert heat, a head upon a plate
the price for crying out ‘Prepare the way’.
Another curtain falls. But hope was in
an angel visitation, bearing down
on one shy girl. Outside the brown leaves turn
to mulch, the wetly rising smoke leaving
a hole in the resentful bonfire. Now
the damp gives way to rain, as if the last
drops in the world have saved themselves for this,
a heralding of water, levelling
the crooked earth, the stone, the moss, the path
till at the dawn, the eastern sky is streaked
with something bright – the golden key that will
unlock the wait. O Morning Star, appear –
illuminate the turning of the year.