Saturday, December 24, 2005
A Dream of Christmas Treasure Lost—and Won
Quench, quench the lighted trees, and let the heavens’ glow
Alone illuminate us, congregating in the snow;
In muffled tones debating if and where a treasure lies,
And whether ancient mysteries, when raised to modern eyes
By moderns can be apprehended.
March, march in measured stride, and trace a trail unseen
From ragged map to ragged ridge, descend a deep ravine
And halt. Re-shoot the bearings, mountain peak and morning star,
Re-check the calculations that have guided us this far
Then go no farther.
Brush, brush the callous snow and blackened leaves away,
Unearth the broken idols, gilded ornaments of clay;
Push through the pagan rubble, thick with ash and dust and chalk,
Don’t stop until your shovel tips go clank on solid rock—
On smooth, carved rock.
Wrench, wrench the capstone clear, we’re anxious to behold
A king’s inheritance, perhaps a regal crown of gold…
But all our torch disclosed, and all that met our grasping hands—
A cattle trough, a shepherd’s crook, and threadbare linen bands
Of cloth, of swaddling cloth.
Hush, hush the clamor! Close the cover! Tell no story
Of fortunes to be gained! Forget your fifteen minutes’ glory!
Tell only of a love that is not locked in cipher code,
A gift not wrapped in riddles, a baby born to bear a crushing load—
Our load, on the road that leads from the manger to—the cross.
Matthew L. Brown
Christmas Eve 2005