At the edge of the wood a snowbound tree
Blazes thy glad Epiphany;

And love in Cana as Zion’s daughter
Worships her Lord with wine from water.


When he was twelve...

Imagine an adolescent Christ,

The scourge of his mother,

In the temple

Soprano, piping his questions to the elders –

Questions to which he, insubordinate, was the answer:

Who revealed himself in flesh

Hid himself in childhood




We see them face to face,

This John, this Jesus:

John rough-hewn, camel’s hair coarse;

Jesus, about him the look of his mother.

I do not think they were face to face.

I recall what John said about

Unworthiness and the shoe’s latchet.

I see him at Christ’s feet,

Unloosing the shoes of God;

Then dipping him in the Jordan.

You could lose your head

Over a thing like that –

And die with the song of Salome singing

All about your ears;

But not before he had seen the descent of the dove,

And heard the heavenly voice:

‘Thou art my Son in whom I am delighted.’


Peter Mullen

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