Advent Poetry Series: “The Lord is With Thee”
The Lord is With Thee
from the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 1
They hail me Mary, full of grace.
They bless me: brave, obedient—holy.
What would you have said to the twelve-foot,
light-soaked man, a gold flecked tower
whose honey lips spoke your name? I said Yes.
Then ran, traveled days, silent, hungry,
purging in the grass, to my cousin’s.
I knew nowhere else to go.
I found Elizabeth, impossibly, full
with child. She, fifty and bare, as pregnant
as I, thirteen, unknown. We, an absurd pair.
Did I hope she would recognize my angel tale,
believe for me what I hardly could?
The Lord is with thee, she said.
Her baby soared inside.
Her face was vague to my memory.
What I recalled was her voice: in candlelight,
she once tucked me under wool with my sisters,
sang us to sleep with poems of Yahweh.
How easily she spoke of God,
as if he were a neighbor, a fish monger on the street.
Blessed art thou among women. Blessed is the fruit
of thy womb. For three months she hid me
from rumors, from my angry betrothed.
I took walks. I threw up. I ate.
Robes can only hide so much.
Then I stood beside the midwife, water basin
in hand while my cousin squatted and screamed.
I knew what my Yes meant this body must do
and wept for myself, for this child of God
given to my clumsy care.
Who am I? I once said to Elizabeth
after dinner, beside our fire. I am small
and weak in faith. She placed her palm
on my cheek, whispered, You’re God’s.
© Micha Boyett. All rights reserved. Please do not reprint or post without attribution. If you or your church would like access to these poems for worship, they are available at the By/For Project.
This is from a series of five Advent poems I wrote for John Knox Presbyterian Church in Seattle. See the first poem here.
Image Credit: Unknown Artist, Icon of the enthroned Virgin and Child with saints and angels, 6th Century (St. Catherine’s Monastery, Mt. Sinai, Egypt)