First Sunday of Advent — Poems


by Donald Hall

When I see the cradle rocking
What is it that I see?
I see a rood on the hilltop
Of Calvary.

When I hear the cattle lowing
What is it that they say?
They say that shadows feasted
At Tenebrae.

When I know that the grave is empty,
Absence eviscerates me,
And I dwell in a cavernous, constant
Horror vacui.[1]

This audio podcast features “Annunciation” by Denise Levertov, “Advent” by Donald Hall, “Into The Darkest Hour” by Madeleine L’Engle[2] and a selection from the Book of Common Prayer.

[1] Source: Poetry Foundation
[2] Advent Poems (or the 12 days of Christmas poetry)

It’s that time of year

Block print Christmas card

For the last few years, around the end of September, traffic to this site increases dramatically due to a post I wrote titled “Advent Poems (or the 12 days of Christmas poetry).” This year is no different. Traffic continues to increase as the first Sunday of Advent approaches.

The original post was written in response to a search for good Advent poetry. A lot of seasonal, sentimental verse is available, but very little Advent specific poetry. So, I posted a list of twelve poems that not only presented the theme of Advent but also challenged me to meditate on the purpose of Advent.

Last year I tried something different. I produced four audio podcasts featuring Advents poems and additional sacred writings. The audio podcasts were recorded and released when me and my family were, for all practical purposes, homeless.

The reading of the poems and Advent writings brought courage in spite of circumstances. I hope you enjoy the audio recordings that I will release this year during the Advent season.