[Edit – I totally wrote this yesterday but my computer’s power cable is dying, so I threw up my hands. So tonight, a two-fer.]

by U.A. Fanthorpe (born 1929)

(from Maggi Dawn’s excellent blog)

This was the moment when Before
Turned into After, and the future’s
Uninvented timekeepers presented arms.

This was the moment when nothing
Happened. Only dull peace
Sprawled boringly over the earth.

This was the moment when even energetic Romans
Could find nothing better to do
Than counting heads in remote provinces.

And this was the moment
When a few farm workers and three
Members of an obscure Persian sect
Walked haphazard by starlight straight
Into the kingdom of heaven.


I wonder if every devout atheist is seized by the urge, when writing something that even remotely, tangentially, or obliquely proclaims the divinity of Christ,–the urge to issue a disclaimer: “I don’t actually believe this stuff; it’s what somebody else said.”

It’s disappointing. I like to think I’m made of thicker stuff than that. But the urge is there.

I just read this poem. It’s wicked good, I think, not so much in that it elevates, but in that it strips the Christmas story down into its constituents parts in such a way that it really makes it clear what is so transcendant and amazing about the story. It’s the original Horatio Alger story, only more so. From rags to riches becomes from rags to divine power and the glory of God.

The title is also nice–as a Westerner, my Gregorian calendar is (at least in intention if not in historical precision) set up such that the birth of the baby Jesus is when the calendar stops being the sequence {-%∞