Here, observances
won’t happen.
Snow and wind
paint the earth.
this morning,
cleaning the wood burner,
though no sprinkle,
no forehead mark,
but smudges on hands
and pants
and fine soot
marked me.

clash and rage.
a chapel gathering
drew students
and visitors,
a sign
that fire
still burns.

The wind can still mark.

Long, Long Ago

On the verge of 2021, the choir at the Church of the Advent in Boston performed a wonderful song to usher in the new year. The hymn was written by John Buxton in 1940 while a prisoner of war at Oflag VII C at Laufen Castle in Bavaria. It was published in a collection titled Such Liberty in 1944. The music was composed in 1950 by Herbert Howells for the Lady Margaret Singers of Cambridge.

Long, long ago, Oh! so long ago
Christ was born to heal the world’s woe.
For he should be the Saviour,
making wars to cease,
who gives joy to all men
and brings to them peace.


My small candle, its flare
Joins others as we, aware,
Express our faith as… There!
Light lasts longer, less rare,
Lures hope in what creation bears.

Will that promise of light
Fling fire into our souls, so to
Banish the gloom of war’s doom,
Offer shelter in the welter of tent cities,
Secure the battered release and peace,
Unchain and rearrange race hate.

Will our candles light others,
until their flames, fused in brilliance,
rival the warmth of spring’s sun?