Waiting on the Word: A poem a day for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany
Advent is a season of waiting and anticipation in which the waiting itself is strangely rich and fulfilling. Its focus is on the coming of Christ – in humility in the manger at Bethlehem, in majesty as the fulfilment and finality of all things, and in the countless moments of encounter and transformation in the time between these two great comings in which we live. The other sense we have of the word ‘advent’ is in the word ‘adventure’. ‘Let us take the adventure that God sends us,’ say the knights in Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur, recognising that the God in whom we live and move and have our being may come and meet us when and where he pleases.
Poetry can help us fathom the depths and inhabit the tensions of Advent’s many paradoxes: past and future, dark and light, waiting and consolation, emptiness and fulfilment, ancient and ever new. In the spirit of the season, this anthology includes the familiar and adventures upon the new. Malcolm Guite selects and reflects on a poem for each day. The selection ranges from spiritual classics such as Edmund Spenser, John Donne, George Herbert and Christina Rossetti, to new and contemporary voices such as Luci Shaw and Scott Cairns. His own acclaimed sequence of sonnets for great Advent antiphons is also included.
This anthology moves through Advent into its fulfilment in Christmas, and on to Epiphany where the choice of poetry is influenced by the stargazing pagan wise men. Here are works by non-Christian poets who seem, nevertheless, to see in the heavens such signs as declare the glory of the Lord.