While We Search The Heavens For That Star

A collection by Lawrence “Mack in Texas” Hall


His Name is John

We plan our lives, we think our thoughts
We name the days, we name the child
We count the oughts, dismiss the naughts
We seek for peace, we fear the wild

We dare presume to sort our days
As if we were Creators too
To look upon our works and praise
That which we think is right and true

But Zechariah, his old face wan
Corrects us with:

“His name is John”


Everyone Writes a Poem about the Winter Solstice

The moon is falling away from the full
The axis of the earth will briefly pause
Planets and stars align as the Maker wills
And we wonder if we can sense our world

Our world as she shivers across the night
We must light a hilltop fire for her
So that she will spin the light back to us
While we search the heavens for that star

That star that led us to a stable long ago
And now bathes our souls with its silver glow


Word Sung as Light
Upon hearing a recording of the Orthodox Christian Monks of the Svetogorskaya Monastery

A deep, slow stream of tones, of modes, of chants
Where time and all eternity flow as one
Through voices and dreamlike echoings
Among the Altars of the earth and sky

The song begins upon the Bosporus
Ascends up to and beyond the spheres of Heaven
Then gently rains upon the souls of men
Forever and ever, in this world and the next

The Word first sung as Light, sung as Creation
And sung again as the Incarnation

Orthodox Christian Monks chant Christmas Carols – YouTube
(I’m not sure “carols” is correct; in their awe and reverence these works appear to be hymns.)


Late in the Evening on Christmas Eve

After breakfast with a friend
After setting up for a family luncheon
After a family luncheon that never seemed to end
After cleaning up after a family luncheon
(and that, too, never seemed to end)
After a moment of sitting and thinking with wife and child
After opening gifts (with dachshunds and cats)
After sharing gifts (with dachshunds and cats)
After keeping dachshunds and cats from eating the tree ornaments
After watching Judy Garland sing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”
After sitting exhausted with a therapeutic episode of The Office
You realize
The day wasn’t so bad


Mass on Christmas Morning

A Byzantine-rite priest once said that the liturgy
Is neither long nor short; it is itself
And takes the faithful beyond all time to Truth
Manifested in Word and Eucharist

And so we slip out of time and into the Mass
Kneeling before the Altar in some confusion
We are tired of the Covid and each other
And these are more reasons why we are here

And the confusion is okay, you know –
The important thing is that we are here


If Good King Wenceslaus Looked Down Today

A December heatwave in Texas

If good King Wenceslaus looked down today
On this Feast of Stephen, he’d see a poor man
Gathering winter air-conditioning

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