IN PRINCIPIO

 

In the beginning the Word,
the Word before all words.

And I say it is not here
in the pieties and small talk,
the empty, meaningless words
in the warmth and fragrant light,
the well favoured in snug pews,
the marble, the brass, the censed furs –
I say it is not here
that the God of the Christians is found,
not His love,
not His anger,
but His wrath,
for the God of the cross endures
wherever the cross is borne,
in the living death of the slums,
in the fields with ice and rain,
in the bowels of the earth
the low galleries foetid and damp,
in a hostel in Milwaukee
mothers with their children
laid side by side
on the bare boards together
without dignity or rest,
the little ones fretful and worn.

It is here that the Christ is born
and here, always, that He dies.

 

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