Epitaphios

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.”


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