Christmas Eve: Gower Street, 1983

Hollywood Pres 001


Silent, silver, aslant, the rain

Washes sky-dark sidewalks.

The gray sky weeps;

All hushed, the city passes

            In the street below.


Umbrellas cluster shadow black

Over sheeted pavements.

Headlights, tail-lights,

Blood-red, ghost-white,

Bend and ripple in the deeps

            Of the street’s dark mirror.


Cold, cracked comfort, brick and stone,

Rest the halt and hunching stalkers,

Walkers, derelict, alone,


            In the street below.

Gray faces haunt shadow-scrawled corridors,

And night draws near.


But silent in my room a single lamp

Lights this little corner without presumption;

And within the church’s thick rain-stained brick

The heart glows warm and red.

Here and there

Beneath the world’s gray crust

Quiet peace takes refuge,

Unseen, unassuming.

Enclaves of joy humbly hold out,

Unconquered, unyielding,

Under the rawness, rain, and night.

Hope haunts the catacombs;

Salvation goes underground.

Against all odds

The kingdom drops into the earth,

A grain of wheat upon the cold, hard, clayey ground.


Small and weak, we few insanely sing

Of life and hope and heaven’s newborn king.

We light our candles as the dark shuts down

And wait the coming day.

 Hollywood 001


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