Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Bleak Midwinter

Bleak Midwinter
by Gideon Burton
after the traditional carol

Midwinter, bleak with moaning, frosty winds;
Across the iron earth the mounting snow;
the water, stony ice a layer thin;
beneath the snow, the dark compacting snow.
A stable place remained and was enough
when heaven couldn't keep him in its home.
A bed of straw, a mother's milk and love;
it was enough, though cherubim had flown
and seraphim attended in the air;
no worship but a weary mother's kiss.
He is enough, no offerings compare.
His is enough, and all has come to this:
     Within my bleak midwinter shines a son,
     I kneel in warmth and winter is undone.

Photo: flickr - manfred-hartmann

As a bonus, enjoy this audio version of the traditional carol, sung by my wife, Karen, and her friend, Juliana.

In the Bleak Midwinter

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

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