I’ve been good about sticking to chronological sequence, but it’s Christmas Day, which would seem to present an opportunity to choose something topical (without worrying about which year it was published in). Also, a few of you asked me if I was sharing my own poetry—seeming to suggest that you’d be interested. And so when I recalled having written this poem, I decided to post it. I wrote it more than a decade ago, I think, and I wouldn’t call it a good example of my poetry at its best. But I think it’s as good a Christmas poem as I’ve written, and hopefully good enough at least to be of interest to you–if it doesn’t work for you, or you think it can be improved, you’re welcome to say so! But I hope you enjoy at least a line or two—in honor of the holiday, this is “Looking Down From Mt. Nebo”:
The new sun was just climbing the peaks
Of Jordan, looking from where Moses once
Cried for a nation that inherited the promise
He had lost.
It pulled to waking the hearts of a people who
Cried out “come, come” to a God who was
With them unknown, and who cried too
In the morning.
The light ran across the cold fields ahead of
The wise, spilling the news of their coming with
Gold that paved the road to Egypt, the land that
Raised the deliverer.
It wrapped in comfort the folds of Bethlehem plain;
Moaning sheep who had no shepherd to keep watch,
Having lost their caregiver to the townsmen below—
The ones who shunned the shepherd
And his wild words of a calling from the sky that
Spoke of promises—promises that had gone too long unthought
For the people to trust, so they ignored him and cried out again,
Not knowing what they lost.