“Christmas Light” by May Sarton

When everyone had gone
I sat in the library
With the small silent tree,
She and I alone.
How softly she shone!

And for the first time then
For the first time this year,
I felt reborn again,
I knew love’s presence near.

Love distant, love detached
And strangely without weight,
Was with me in the night
When everyone had gone
And the garland of pure light
Stayed on, stayed on.

“Christmas Light” by May Sarton. Text as published in Collected Poems 1930-1993 (W. W. Norton, 1993).

5 thoughts on ““Christmas Light” by May Sarton

  1. Mike Mirarchi

    I love this one! Thank you, Christy! I’d never read it before. 🙂 Merry Christmas!

    Christmas Poem

    Says a country legend told every year:
    Go to the barn on Christmas Eve and see
    what the creatures do as that long night tips over.
    Down on their knees they will go, the fire
    of an old memory whistling through their minds!

    So I went. Wrapped to my eyes against the cold
    I creaked back the barn door and peered in.
    From town the church bells spilled their midnight music,
    and the beasts listened –
    yet they lay in their stalls like stone.
    Oh the heretics!
    Not to remember Bethlehem,
    or the star as bright as a sun,
    or the child born on a bed of straw!
    To know only of the dissolving Now!

    Still they drowsed on –
    citizens of the pure, the physical world,
    they loomed in the dark: powerful
    of body, peaceful of mind,
    innocent of history.

    Brothers! I whispered. It is Christmas!
    And you are no heretics, but a miracle,
    immaculate still as when you thundered forth
    on the morning of creation!
    As for Bethlehem, that blazing star

    still sailed the dark, but only looked for me.
    Caught in its light, listening again to its story,
    I curled against some sleepy beast, who nuzzled
    my hair as though I were a child, and warmed me
    the best it could all night.

    — Mary Oliver

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