The Lay of the Lord:Birth– “The Carpenter”

[MOD: This is part 5 of Chris’ excellent poem. Read it in order: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3 Part 4]

Rough hands worked the wood and stone,
even though scratches would bleed royal blood
(yet even King David was a shepherd,
commonly laboring until the destiny of God called).
So Joseph plied his trade in Nazareth.
The honor of Yahweh, the goodwill of men,
and the peace of a quiet life were his simple desire,
with virtuous Mary to come complete it.
Now gone three months to visit her cousin in the south,
the carpenter grew impatient for his beloved’s return.
At last she came back one fine morning,
and hearing the news he rushed to see the face which had filled his dreams,
grinning widely;
but as the exposed apple begins to brown,
fading in freshness,
so his smile turned sour as he beheld her form,
altered in a way that only an unborn child could do.
It was as if in an instant,
the bright sun-star of his universe had exploded,
piercing his heart with its fiery shards.

Some dark, many-headed monster rose within him,
each head rending its teeth upon his soul:
jealousy, anger, confusion, pain.
With compassionate concern in her eyes,
Mary spoke hesitantly but tenderly to him,
but her words only seemed to make his head whirl.
How could such things be true?
A child conceived by the Spirit of God alone?
The Messiah of the prophecies and promises,
in Mary’s womb? And all this told her by an angel?
Who could believe it?
In consternation he retreated to the quiet outside the town,
pacing up and down the silent hills,
his mind filled with more than it could handle,
until at last, overburdened and weary,
he returned to his home and collapsed into a sleep of sorrow,
but in the darkness of his dreams a light flickered, growing,
until at last a man took shape, but such a man he had never seen,
with a face so set that none could dare question his divine purpose.
“Joseph, son of David the king, your mind is full of fear, but fret no longer,
for what you have heard is indeed of the Lord, and full of truth.

Therefore show yourself a man, take your wife to yourself and her child.
Be a father to God’s precious Son, and call Him Jesus,
for He will grow up to be Conqueror, and Deliverer of His people.”
With a start he awoke to the darkness, gasping in the air of earth,
and though no trace of such a strange appearance could be seen,
within his heart it seemed the light of that heavenly being remained,
chasing away all foes of fear and dread, hardening his will to the divine task,
and so he rose and proved himself righteous.

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~ by thebardling on December 11, 2009.

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