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Advent

by
 We have tested and tasted too much, lover-
Through a chink too wide there comes in no wonder.
But here in the Advent-darkened room Where the dry black bread and the sugarless tea Of penance will charm back the luxury Of a child's soul, we'll return to Doom The knowledge we stole but could not use.
And the newness that was in every stale thing When we looked at it as children: the spirit-shocking Wonder in a black slanting Ulster hill Or the prophetic astonishment in the tedious talking Of an old fool will awake for us and bring You and me to the yard gate to watch the whins And the bog-holes, cart-tracks, old stables where Time begins.
O after Christmas we'll have no need to go searching For the difference that sets an old phrase burning- We'll hear it in the whispered argument of a churning Or in the streets where the village boys are lurching.
And we'll hear it among decent men too Who barrow dung in gardens under trees, Wherever life pours ordinary plenty.
Won't we be rich, my love and I, and God we shall not ask for reason's payment, The why of heart-breaking strangeness in dreeping hedges Nor analyse God's breath in common statement.
We have thrown into the dust-bin the clay-minted wages Of pleasure, knowledge and the conscious hour- And Christ comes with a January flower.

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