A Poem For Sunday

Andrew Sullivan —  Dec 25 2011 @ 8:27pm


From the final two sections of "For the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio" by W.H. Auden:

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,
The promising child who cannot keep His word for long.

The poem continues.

(Photo: A Christmas ornament reflects St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City before the lighing of the Christmas tree. By Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images)