During the Sundays of Advent this year, the Emerging Scholars Network will be posting works by Christina Rossetti. As a thoughtful poet who engaged deeply with faith, Rossetti wrote a number of poems about the church calendar. In the Advent poems we share here, she engages with the traditional idea of Advent as both remembering Christ’s first coming and waiting for His second. Her imagery is rich and thoughtful, and we hope this poetry helps you to reflect on what it means to wait for Christ. We can only share part of this piece here, but we encourage you to read the whole poem elsewhere. For material from our archives on Advent click here. To God be the glory! – Hannah
This Advent moon shines cold and clear,
These Advent nights are long;
Our lamps have burned year after year
And still their flame is strong.
“Watchman, what of the night?” we cry
Heart-sick with hope deferred:
“No speaking signs are in the sky,”
Is still the watchman’s word.
The Porter watches at the gate,
the servants watch within;
The watch is long betimes and late,
The prize is slow to win.
“Watchman, what of the night?” but still
His answer sounds the same:
“No daybreak tops the utmost hill,
Nor pale our lamps of flame.”
. . .
We weep because the night is long.
We laugh for day shall rise,
We sing a slow contented song
And knock at Paradise.
Weeping we hold Him fast, Who wept
For us, we hold HIm fast;
And will not let Him go except
He bless us first or last.
Weeping we hold Him fast tonight;
We will not let Him go
Till daybreak smite our wearied sight
And summer smite the snow:
Then figs shall bud, and dove with dove
Shall coo the livelong day;
Then He shall say, “Arise, My love,
My fair one, come away.”
Source: Christina Rossetti, The Complete Poems, ed. R. W. Crump (New York: Penguin Books, 2001), pp. 62-64.
Image Credit: Scary, Scary Night, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=54127 [retrieved November 24, 2015]. Original source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8545333@N07/2564825110/.