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Advent Sonnets

I set out to write a sonnet per day of Advent, then got too busy to keep up with it. Here are a few, offered up in the hope that they’ll be good for you somehow—even if that only means giving you the courage to try your hand at writing your own.For a few centuries they’ve proved to be a good way to order your thoughts, and, however mixed the final results, the process is good for the brain and the heart.



Let me not deny you room, O Christ child, But be born again each day in my heart. Be welcome, Prince of Peace, and not exiled To the chilly stable and set apart From where I in warmth and comfort repose. Give me grace to know the fulness of time And to watch for your arrival. Who knows What shape the Word will take, who knows what rhyme Will sound in time and so complete the line? You are the Infinite Poet. Surprise Us, for as we gaze upward for a sign, You come quiet, enwombed, below our eyes. But if I miss you, let me leave this inn, Step out, kneel down, and find my home again.


Remember your mercy in Christ, I plead When all my watchmen abandon their walls And sin the enemy invades. The seed Of stray thought becomes desire, then it falls To the ground and takes root till fully grown. Why not resist before it comes to that? Why forsake the greatest love ever known, And skitter through the garbage like a rat? The curse cuts through the earth and everyone, And I am sundered by it, a split soul, Jagged scar through the heart, a waning sun Sliced by a moon’s eclipse. Please make me whole. Please, Lord, I beg you, be patient with me. Be my watchman. Guard my heart. Have mercy.


Poetry, of course, is tough. Tougher now That the hour is late and my eyes droop shut And I have to will them open. Somehow I have to fight my way through it. But what Is the point? Why do this at all? No one Made me commit to these Advent sonnets, And no one will care if I quit. Reason Is no reason to write poems. Sunsets, One could argue, are a good starting place. But this? This is just a matter of will, A discipline put on myself, a race I’m running alone up a barren hill. But with just a couplet left to compose, I can’t quit. I must bring it to a close.


Snow in Houston. It’s such a rare beauty. I walked outside in disbelief and saw The damp white flakes angle down, happily, As if they too were surprised, my slack jaw Mute with praise as snow touched down and melted. A few months ago it was the great flood Of ’17, the worst ever, they said, When the hurricane heart pumped all that blood Until the storm died after days and days And its corpse was the standing water Decomposing in the streets, the earth’s face Soaked in mud and rot and matter. But the flood is gone. Now it’s only snow, White and quiet, miraculous and slow.


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