Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Here’s a poem to mark the end of the holidays.

Published January 7, 2013

I am fairly certain I first became aware of W.H. Auden from the movie “Four Weddings and Funeral” when his poem “Funeral Blues” was read aloud.

A few years ago, I came across another of his poems “Christmas Oratorio.”

This weekend I took down my Christmas decorations. (The Christmas season for the church doesn’t end until Sunday, Jan. 13.) And this poem came to mind. It sums up for me the end of the season with its imagery of putting away the decorations and what can be my ho-hum reaction to the birth of the Christ Child. At the same time, I love the “begging” line.

Christmas Oratorio

Well, so that is that. Now we must dismantle the tree,
Putting the decorations back into their cardboard boxes —
Some have got broken — and carrying them up to the attic.
The holly and the mistletoe must be taken down and burnt,
And the children got ready for school. There are enough
Left-overs to do, warmed-up, for the rest of the week —
Not that we have much appetite, having drunk such a lot,
Stayed up so late, attempted — quite unsuccessfully —
To love all of our relatives, and in general
Grossly overestimated our powers. Once again
As in previous years we have seen the actual Vision and failed
To do more than entertain it as an agreeable
Possibility, once again we have sent Him away,
Begging though to remain His disobedient servant


Photo credit: Creative Commons license/Romana Klee.  

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