The Cradle

A Christmas poem by Eugene Peterson published in his book, The Contemplative Pastor (1989), page 169:

The Cradle

For us who have only known approximate fathers
And mothers manqué, this child is a surprise:
A sudden coming true of all we hoped
Might happen. Hoarded hopes fed by prophecies,

Old sermons and song fragments, now cry
Coo and gurgle in the cradle, a babbling
Proto-language which as soon as it gets
A tongue (and we, of course, grow open ears)

Will say the big nouns: joy, glory, peace;
And live the best verbs: love, forgive, save.
Along with the swaddling clothes the words are washed

of every soiling sentiment, scrubbed clean of
All failed promises, then hung in the world’s
Backyard dazzling white, billowing gospel.

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