Wednesday, December 8, 2021

St. Joseph, Carpenter of Nazareth

 A-Poem-a-Day Until Christmas...

Image credit: pagadiandiocese.org

THE CARPENTER OF NAZARETH

 I.

The carpenter laid his hammer down

brushed sawdust from his clothes

slouched onto the rude wooden bench

he’d been working on

and ran calloused hands

through his dark, wavy beard

It seemed he’d misjudged

his beloved, his betrothed

her purity, fidelity, her forthrightness

Earlier that day

the tender voice he knew well

spoke softly of pregnancy

an angel...overshadowing

of some holy thing

It was too much for him

incomprehensible, even incredible

Joseph leaned back against the rough wood

stretched his sinewy arms

gazed with resignation toward the heavens

He'd hand her a bill of divorcement —

wash his hands. It was over. Finished

He rose, shook his head

and returned to work

 

In the night

tension dissolved

into welcome sleep

Deep, deep in its midst

a flurry of wings and light

wrapped him in wonder

A stirring voice resonated

“Fear not...

Take Mary as your wife”

Words swirled as he tossed

“for the Son conceived in her

is of the Holy Spirit."

Then distinctly, Joseph heard

“Name Him Jesus…

“He will save your people from their sins”

 

II.

Mary placed a few belongings into a sack

She and Joseph were about to leave

for Bethlehem, for the census

She felt a hardy kick

from inside her swollen belly

and reflexively caressed the spot

“A knee,” she smiled

God had chosen her for a purpose

she could barely comprehend

and the birth would be soon

She neatly folded soft, clean cloths

and packed them

just in case her time would come

during the journey

 

Traveling was arduous

by foot and donkey-back

over hills and rocky terrain

Joseph was attentive

stopping periodically for rests

but evening was fast approaching

Finally, they could see the town ahead

Suddenly, Mary felt her stomach stiffen

Was this the sign

Elizabeth had told her about

Her back ached. She was weary

Soon, her stomach tightened again

then again, but stronger

She told Joseph

who touched her, tenderly

and bid her not to fret

Lodging was close by

But when they arrived

the innkeeper told them

the place was packed with travelers

Seeing their dilemma

he offered shelter and privacy

in the livestock cave out back

Joseph helped her off the donkey

and into the dark rock-hewn cave

Hurriedly, he gathered fresh hay

and prepared a makeshift nook

apart from the animals

then sat at Mary’s side, cooling her brow

as contractions intensified

 

III.

In the evening chill

amid moon and star and lantern-light

the musky odor of straw and dung

rhythmic sounds of

braying, bleating

and occasional shouts and laughter

emanating from the inn

the carpenter rolled his sleeves

and delivered the Promised One

Joseph presented the healthy boy child

to his virginal wife to nurse

then emptied a rugged old trough

and filled it with sweet-smelling hay

all the time thinking

of the fine, smoothly sanded cradle

back home in Nazareth

"Jesus, someday I'll teach you

how to select the finest woods

how to build and saw and sand

You'll be a fine carpenter, Jesus

a very fine carpenter…"

Joseph carefully placed Jesus

in the makeshift cradle

then fashioned a spot for himself

on the floor of the cave

and soon fell fast asleep

 

Maude Carolan



"Behold the Lamb...poetically!"

Poems about the Birth, Death & Resurrection of Jesus...

by Maude Carolan Pych

Published by Elm Hill,

is available online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, CBD, etc.

Website: www.maudecarolanpych.net

Email: maudecpych@gmail.com

 

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

"A Bethlehem Memory"

A-Poem-a-Day Until Christmas...


Shepherd and sheep in Bethlehem, Israel.

 

A BETHLEHEM MEMORY

Israel Pilgrimage II, May 1987

 

O little town of Bethlehem

how still we see thee lie

from the wheat field of Boaz

this pleasant mid-spring night

 

A zealous band of pilgrims

tracing footsteps of the Lord –

with hearts ablaze to praise

One so worthy to be adored

 

We huddle at the circular

stone threshing floor for wheat

with eyes fixed on the little town

so Christmas tableau sweet

 

We look around for shepherds

as the sun is going down

while to the strumming of guitar

we lift the joyful sound

 

of our voices unto Heaven

to give our gift of song…

Every carol that we know

is offered by the throng

 

The evening is so glorious

we do not want to leave –

Our dinners may be getting cold

but here our spirits cleave

 

The darkness slowly deepens

as dim starlights appear…

twilight glows with hymn-song

while in reverie we veer

 

back to the old, old stories

of the night of Holy Birth

Each of us is enthralled by

this blessed bit of earth

 

In the distance, the townsfolk

begin to light their lights

for the routine of living

in this simply awesome site

 

We wonder, do they ever kneel

to kiss the hallowed ground

where they spend their everydays?

Do the amber fields resound

 

with ecstatic jubilation?

Do stars shoot sparks of praise

for the glorious Gift given

that precious day of days?

 

O little town of Bethlehem…

this night we’ll always treasure

Echoes of carols, memories

will remain forever

 

Pure joy overflows our hearts

for Bethlehem’s Babe, Our Lord

was born here to save sinners…

Jesus, Savior of the World!

 

Maude Carolan



"Behold the Lamb...poetically!"

by Maude Carolan Pych

Published by Elm Hill,

is available online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, CBD, etc.

Website: www.maudecarolanpych.net

Email: maudecpych@gmail.com

 

Monday, December 6, 2021

Christmas, Long Ago...

 A-Poem-a-Day Until Christmas...

Photo credit: countryliving.com



ONE CHRISTMAS IN THE EARLY 5O’S

 

I sat with my nose pressed

against the frosty kitchen window,

staring hard into the black starry sky

looking for snowflakes,

searching for Santa in his sleigh,

straining to see a tiny red light

that might be the tip of Rudolph’s nose.

Mommy said Santa wouldn’t come

until I went to sleep,

so I put on new flannel pajamas

trimmed with red piping,

and went to bed.

 

I heard noises, elfin noises?

Kneeling on my bed,

peering out the window,

I spied my father

dragging evergreens from the car.

Soon I heard Mommy, Daddy,

Aunt Carol and Uncle Fred whispering,

heard them rustling around

moving things, the buzz of a drill.

I worried that the commotion

would keep Santa away,

but soon my eyes wouldn’t stay open.

 

I awoke very early

and roused Carol and Frankie.

We tiptoed downstairs

where we were dazzled by a fir

decorated with big bright bulbs

and bubbling candle lights,

shiny glass balls,

silvery tinsel shimmering

reflections in the glow,

and a glittering star way up on top.

 

Aunt Carol was curled on the sofa,

Uncle Fred lay snoring

in an overstuffed chair.

Beneath the tree was not

the perky Toni I prayed for

and asked Santa to bring

when I sat on his lap at Quackenbush’s,

but a different yellow-haired doll

with little pink curlers,

an oversized tricycle

with a fresh coat of chartreuse

and a Chinese Checkers game.

My sock, bursting with candy,

hung from a cardboard fireplace

covered with red brick printed paper.

 

Soon our aunt and uncle awoke,

then Mommy and Daddy.

We were told Daddy

had taken the last scrawny pines

from an abandoned tree lot

after his night shift at Wright’s.

He and Uncle Fred drilled holes

into the trunk of the best,

fitted in branches from others.

They stood it on a stand

with Daddy’s old green Lionels

circling around.

 

Carol and I bundled and walked

to Mass at St. Bonaventure’s,

leaving our new toys behind.

 

When we got home,

there was sausage and eggs,

a stollen coated with powdery sugar,

filled with tiny pieces

of red, green, and yellow fruit,

(which we picked out),

and mugs of rich steamy cocoa,

with a big Campfire marshmallow

melting and bobbing on top.

 

Maude Carolan




 "Behold the Lamb...poetically!"

by Maude Carolan Pych

Published by Elm Hill,

is available online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, CBD, etc.

Website: www.maudecarolanpych.net

Email: maudecpych@gmail.com

 


Sunday, December 5, 2021

Before the Journey

A-Poem-a-Day Until Christmas...

 

Image credit: churchofjesuschrist.org



Maude reading "Before the Journey."

BEFORE THE JOURNEY

 

Sitting quietly in the dim glow of an oil lamp

trying to get comfortable

in the sturdy wooden armchair

made by her carpenter husband

Mary rests both hands

upon her taut, round stomach

and smiles at the gentle rumbling within—

the Son of God in utero

 

Although this is centuries before sonograms

Mary knows her babe is a boy child

and that they are to name Him Jesus—

for an angel told her so

 

Young and bewildered, she wonders

what her holy Son will look like and be like

if he’ll want to work with wood

She wonders about the cosmic plan

set in motion by her “yes”

and how a savior saves

 

She dares not dwell too deeply

upon what lies ahead

and why so lowly a maiden as she

would be highly favored

by the Lord her God

 

but she trusts Him

…and she’s obedient

 

Joseph is a good man—

She watches as he sands smoothly

the fine cradle he is building

and appreciates that he stands by her

shielding her from questions, innuendos

finger-pointers and gossip mongers

 

Their donkey is tied outside

the humble dwelling in Nazareth

She hears it braying and nuzzling at the door

 

It’ll go with them tomorrow

on their journey to Bethlehem

where they must register

for the census

 

She sighs, thinking of the long

arduous journey

especially in her condition

 

Well, I’d better get some rest

 

she tells Joseph

as she rises awkwardly from the chair

and carries the lamp closer

to where her husband is working

 

I’ve packed a bundle of swaddling clothes

…just in case

 

Maude Carolan Pych




"Behold the Lamb...poetically!"

by Maude Carolan Pych

Published by Elm Hill,

is available online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, CBD, etc.

Website: www.maudecarolanpych.net

Email: maudecpych@gmail.com

 

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Mary, Virgin Mother of Jesus

 A-Poem-a-Day Until Christmas...



MARY

 

She was a real maiden

gracious and virtuous

so she trembled

as any girl might

at an angel’s visit

But she had real faith

in a real God

and she said, “Yes.”

 

She was a real woman

not blue-gowned in plaster

A poor carpenter’s wife

not an artist’s rendering

gilded and haloed

She bulged big with child

as she rode astride an ass

and during her real travail

brought forth a baby

in a Bethlehem stable

 

She was a real mother

He was a real son

She nursed him

changed him

bathed and cradled him

as any mother would

She smiled at his first word

saw him take his first step

and when he fell

and scraped his tender knees

she washed away blood

not yet deemed Precious

and soothed him

with soft lullabies

 

When he was twelve

and they discovered

he was missing

as they traveled home

after the Passover

she was anxious

as any mother would be

and heaved a great sigh

when they found him, safe

in the temple courts

 

Yes, she was a real mom

and he was a real son

so, it’s not surprising

it was she

who sensed his power

she who encouraged him to act

at the wedding feast

when wine stopped flowing

for she knew

she just knew…

 

and she was real

at the Crossbeams

Simeon had told her

long, long ago

a sword would pierce her

Though hers be bloodless

it penetrated sharp

and deep, as truly

as the gaping wounds

she now was powerless

to soothe

 

He looked down

from His agony

into hers—

gave her to mother

his friend

gave his friend

to be her son

 

It was always about love

 

She was a real mom

He is the real Savior

 

Maude Carolan



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"Behold the Lamb...poetically!"

by Maude Carolan Pych

Published by Elm Hill,

is available online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, CBD, etc.

Website: www.maudecarolanpych.net

Email: maudecpych@gmail.com