Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Christmas in July

And is it true? And is it true,
This most tremendous tale of all,
Seen in a stained-glass window’s hue,
A Baby in an ox’s stall?
The Maker of the stars and sea
Become a Child on earth for
. . .

No love that in a family dwells,
No carolling in frosty air,
Nor all the steeple-shaking bells
Can with the single Truth compare—
That God was Man in Palestine
And lives today in Bread and Wine.

--Christmas, John Betjeman

John Betjeman was the most popular British poet of the twentieth century. Poet Laureate from 1972 until his death in 1984, he won the affection of the British middle classes, and his books were bestsellers at a time when poetry had generally ceased to sell.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Of course, what you largely miss by quoting only the last to stanzas of Betjeman's poem is that the poem is not about faith, but about doubt.

When Betjeman asks "Is it true?" about the Incarnation he is asking from a rather different place than when Wesley asks "And can it be?" about the Passion.