The Annunciation and the Nativity

The following poem is by a 16 year-old Sophia. It is taken from Loose Leaves, the sequence of poems she wrote after seeing The Medieval Imagination, an exhibition of illuminated manuscripts at the State Library in Melbourne.

Ours is a broken world. The battle against disorder, which (as is symbolised in Sophie’s poem) includes suffering and death, is fought line by line, poem by poem, thought by beautiful thought.

Sophie loved Christmas, and would wish to give to others the deep meaning of it.

The Annunciation and the Nativity, Psalter-Hours

(Southern Netherlands, Liege, 1270s)

The angel’s hand is raised
In blessing and accusation
About to make the sign of the cross
That has yet to be borne
He raises a wing up above her head
As if he wishes to point to her Lord

At this moment of annunciation
The world has gone gold
And her big white hands
Are raised against the light
Pointing like the dislocated wing
To what lies beyond

Everything out
Everything out of its socket
The child
Who should be in heaven
Floats between worlds
Blood and bone now
Even as he looks down
On the nine flashed-by months
And on his mother
Still dazzled by the light
Who can look at nothing but the ground

The animals are bodiless
Even as they kneel over their elevated manger
They are symbols now and have no soul

And Joseph who did not see
The earlier brightness
Looks down on his virgin wife
And his world out of joint