Friday, December 23, 2011
Welcome to Poetry Friday
At a lovely Lessons and Carols service this month, I discovered a poignant poem by Dorothy Parker. Composer Nicholas White turned the poem into a carol.
The poem was a total surprise. I had thought of Parker as a witty writer and sometimes dark and even sarcastic. But this poem helps us imagine what a new mother in a stable may have longed for.
Prayer for a New Mother
The things she knew, let her forget again-
The voices in the sky, the fear, the cold,
The gaping shepherds, and the queer old men
Piling their clumsy gifts of foreign gold.
Let her have laughter with her little one;
Teach her the endless, tuneless songs to sing,
Grant her her right to whisper to her son
The foolish names one dare not call a king.
Keep from her dreams the rumble of a crowd,
The smell of rough-cut wood, the trail of red,
The thick and chilly whiteness of the shroud
That wraps the strange new body of the dead.
Ah, let her go, kind Lord, where mothers go
And boast his pretty words and ways, and plan
The proud and happy years that they shall know
Together, when her son is grown a man.
Schongauer painted The Holy Family. See more of his gorgeous art here.
Thank you to Dori who is hosting Poetry Friday today at Dori Reads.