We brought him out
To hear the caroling.
All the long pilgrimage
From the couch to the kitchen chair.
Half-carried, he barely found his steps
Like a man walking on the sea-bed
He was somewhere we were not
Far away from Christmas in long-term care.
With Advent he slipped away
His bones each there to be counted
The man nearly gone from his eyes
Stolen away by the nameless
He had forgotten how to stand,
Leaning back against our arms
A living icon, out of season
Christ taken down from the cross.
The voices startle and amaze him
And though he is sore afraid
And cannot see the secret choir
Their carol is for him:
“No more let sins and sorrows grow
Nor thorns infest the ground
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.”