Christ’s Mother Reflects, His Childhood

Each day this week, I’ll be sharing from a series of five Advent poems I wrote for John Knox Presbyterian Church in Seattle. I hope they will bless you as you prepare for the coming of Christmas.


Christ’s Mother Reflects, His Childhood

“and for him to see me mended / I must see him torn.”  -Luci Shaw “Mary’s Song”


He stood at the door, wet-faced and panting.
in his hands three baby birds. They’re hungry,
he sniffed, nested them in a bowl with grass,
fed them worms until they died. After, I held him
for an hour, his soul too much for this world.

Who doesn’t want normal for her son?
Yet he chose the lonely of the children, played ball
with the friendless. He was quiet, sat with me
long hours, watching: the grass, the anthills, the sunset.
Sometimes his sigh at such beauty went down too far.

Do you know where I lived before I found you?
He asked once as we sat on cold stones
watching fireflies, Joseph inside with the little ones.
I breathed long and answered. No, my love, I don’t.
I scanned his face with my eyes: a spark, a smile I didn’t know,
as if his chest’s glow might burst, blind me in its radiance.

We never spoke in metaphors: Not light of the world,
not cornerstone, not sacrificial lamb.
When I found him at his studies, face down toward
Isaiah’s words, he looked at me and laughed.
For my sake? I wondered. His own shock?
A memory of the words he would fulfill?

Later: the teaching, the miracles, the homelessness
he chose. How to follow the child you raised?
How to warm yourself in his light
without catching flame and melting?

Drink his blood, eat his flesh, beg his body
to release from the wood it lay torn upon.
Recognize the great pain he’d always carried,
how his split soul all along was mending mine.

© Micha Boyett Hohorst, 2010. All rights reserved. Please do not reprint or post without attribution.


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4 responses to “Christ’s Mother Reflects, His Childhood

  1. Campbell

    Micha — I have been eagerly reading your poems all week long. I’ve been hesitant to comment because I know that nothing I could say could give justice or be beautiful like your words. So all I’m going to say is Thank You. Thank you.

  2. Oh my…now it’s a toss up. I love this one best, too. Can it be like your children, all of whom you love the very best? 🙂

    I think part of what I love about this one is that there is so much mystery in those in-between years….the ones between the manger and the 30 year old Jesus. And the way you imagined it here in this poem is exactly how I wanted to but never could. I could never have put those words to it but when I read them they felt true.

    You did a magnificent job, friend. I hope they were as meaningful to write as they were to read. Love you….Merry Christmas! He has come!

  3. Sam

    A beautiful, shining poem. I know we’ve all wondered about Jesus as a child, and Mary in her real mothering years. Also, I am thinking how raising a child – any child, not a divine one – does heal little pieces of us along the way.

  4. Such a gift to me, reading these. Thank you.

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