Sunday, 24 December 2006

A Wreath for Christmas

When Mary made a holly wreath
The blood ran red - ran red.
Another Mary wove the thorns
That crowned her Master's head.
But the mistletoe was far away
Across a western sea,
And the mistletoe was wreathed around
A pagan apple tree.

In Glastonbury grew a thorn,
When Joseph came to trade.
And the holly bush was common growth
In every wooded glade.
But the mistletoe was sacred where
The sun arose each morn,
And the mistletoe knew nothing of
The Babe in Bethlehem born.

Saint Patrick sailed the stormy seas
To preach the cross - and so
He found Eve's tree - with serpent coiled -
And hung with mistletoe.
"I bid thee, serpent, leave this land,
And open, plant, thine ears."
He preached the tale of Christ - and, lo!
The mistletoe wept tears...

The holly bush has berries red,
Blood-red upon each bough.
The thorn it blooms with golden flowers,
And kissing's fashion now.
What will you give to Christ the Lord,
O pagan bough so green?
"The tears that I have shed for One
Whom I have never seen..."

Let Man then give his life for Man,
The blood-red berries say.
And men have love for fellow men
Where gorse flowers bloom so gay.
And the tears of Man be shed for Man
Where mistletoe gleams white.
Come pity, love and sacrifice...
God bless us all this night.

(Agatha Christie Mallowan)

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