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After Jacob of Serug

Blessed are you, O Maiden; blest
     The fruit which dwells within your womb,
Beloved in that holy rest
     Whose secret comes to sacred bloom.
And blessed is this virgin birth
     Which shall uproot sin from the earth.

Who grants this favor to me now,
     That you should come, O Blessed One,
Bearing the great who is made low?
     By his own will this thing is done.
The mother of a king, and yet,
     It’s at my wooden door we’ve met.

Let every mouth speak out your praise,
     And all the seraphim stand shaken.
Your womb contains the brilliant rays
     That from a living flame shall waken
This world, whose sleep in sin-black night
     Gives way before new life and light.

The gardener who clears the thorns;
     A lion’s cub whose jaws shall roar
Louder than all of Joshua’s horns,
     And drive all craven wolves before:
Such is the sun that all shall see
     Arise from you as from the sea.

But who am I that you should come
     Bearing the one who made the world,
Who is its savior and its sum,
     And yet within you now lies curled?
I am unfit, Ancient of Days,
     To welcome you or speak your praise.

But, Lady blest and full of grace,
     I see your beauty and rejoice;
The radiant flush upon your face,
     A living water in your voice,
Disclosing what alone you know,
     That light and word within you grow.

No angel spoke this truth to me,
     But he who grows within me stirred
The moment that my eyes could see
     You, still far off, and my ears heard
Your call, as down the hill you came,
     Bearing that secret, ancient flame.

—James Matthew Wilson

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