‘for the time being’ – by w.h. auden

My favorite Christmas poem, explaining better than anything else I have ever read, the reason for Christmas joy:

 

Alone, alone, about a dreadful wood

Of conscious evil runs a lost mankind,

Dreading to find its Father lest it find

The Goodness it has dreaded is not good:

Alone, alone, about our dreadful wood.

 

Where is that Law for which we broke our own,

Where now that Justice for which Flesh resigned

Her hereditary right to passion, Mind

His will to absolute power? Gone. Gone.

Where is that Law for which we broke our own?

 

The Pilgrim Way has led to the Abyss.

Was it to meet such grinning evidence

We left our richly odoured ignorance?

Was the triumphant answer to be this?

The Pilgrim Way has led to the Abyss.

 

We who must die demand a miracle.

How could the Eternal do a temporal act,

The Infinite become a finite fact?

Nothing can save us that is possible:

We who must die demand a miracle.

Published by Fr George

Fr George is the priest-in-charge of Holy Cross Dallas

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