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The Incarnate One

 The windless northern surge, the sea-gull's scream,
And Calvin's kirk crowning the barren brae.
I think of Giotto the Tuscan shepherd's dream, Christ, man and creature in their inner day.
How could our race betray The Image, and the Incarnate One unmake Who chose this form and fashion for our sake? The Word made flesh here is made word again A word made word in flourish and arrogant crook.
See there King Calvin with his iron pen, And God three angry letters in a book, And there the logical hook On which the Mystery is impaled and bent Into an ideological argument.
There's better gospel in man's natural tongue, And truer sight was theirs outside the Law Who saw the far side of the Cross among The archaic peoples in their ancient awe, In ignorant wonder saw The wooden cross-tree on the bare hillside, Not knowing that there a God suffered and died.
The fleshless word, growing, will bring us down, Pagan and Christian man alike will fall, The auguries say, the white and black and brown, The merry and the sad, theorist, lover, all Invisibly will fall: Abstract calamity, save for those who can Build their cold empire on the abstract man.
A soft breeze stirs and all my thoughts are blown Far out to sea and lost.
Yet I know well The bloodless word will battle for its own Invisibly in brain and nerve and cell.
The generations tell Their personal tale: the One has far to go Past the mirages and the murdering snow.

Poem by Edwin Muir
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