To Mary At Christmas

by John Gilland Brunini

No stranger pilgrims wear the shepherd's way
Than those who seek the stabled Child alone;
In many inns where Mary's Son would lay
No stranger keepers Bethlehem had known
Than those who choose not none but One. Deny
The Virgin-Mother? - better both were barred
From hearth and threshold lest half-welcome cry
More insult than such doors that hold their guard
On any knock...
Where Jesus is there must
His Mother be!
O Prince of Peace and Queen,
Whose love released our garden debt of dust,
Whose wills were manger laid for Crosses foreseen,
Such severing would flout all ordered plan
And mock the heart which flamed with whiter fire
Of human love, divinely fanned, than man
Had known could ever burn and not expire.

Before day-star elect, O heart most pure,
Brought low and pierced, denials more unite
What they would cleave, for scourge and Cross abjure
The Lamb of God and her alike in plight.
"I thirst;" and so athirst in kind was she,
His earthly dearest, lone and last to cede,
That Mary too became Love's legacy,
As well the giver given with the deed
So broadly writ in pain. Deny? ah, claim
In awe-struck breath this wondrous grace
Of kinship, children got in Adam's shame
And born anew to hail our Mother's place
In power above all angels, saints and seers!

O Care, whose fulness is unceasing prayers
For us, our days are momented with tears,
Our years are tithed with waywardness and snares,
Our exile versed in questioned ills and plaints,
And prodigal in pride our courage faints...
Yet over all our sweetest tribute rings-
We fly to covert of our Mother's wings.

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