Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Shadow and Substance by James A. Campbell

The Vineyard (December 1910, p.223) printed this article, consisting of a poem and (10 pages of) writing, tagged as "a paper read before a gathering of friends".  Given the links that I have researched between James Archibald Campbell and Godfrey Blount, and Greville MacDonald, it is highly likely that they were among the "friends" who heard James A. Campbell read this.

"Far in the Fields is the Baby born,
Who comes to the world on Christmas morn,
In golden straw of the cattle shed:
For his Father's house is the House of Bread.
He breathes the breath of the toiling beast,
He shares the life of the last and least.
Four great archangels his Advent greet.
Kneeling two at His head and two at His feet:
Like gleaming jasper, the radiant one,
St. Michael, gladdener, King of the Sun;
Like heavenly sapphire, azure, fair,
St. Gabriel, comforter, King of the Air;
Like the emerald hope of new worlds to be,
St. Raphael, healer, King of the Sea;
Like a russet furrow of untold worth,
St. Uriel, harvester, King of the Earth.

Can He be born, where no little one
Touches earth, or water, or air, or sun?
Can He be born, where the fraud-fed soul
Seeks moral roads to life's glacial pole?
Can He be born, where poor city slaves
Pass through iron teeth into nameless graves?

There is a way, to the bird unknown,
From the cloudy pit to the Rainbow Throne.

Through this lovely world, Thou hast made a way,
By field and garden, by hearth and home,
Where the simple and loving can never stray,
Where the ravenous wolf shall never come.
They have closed it with ashes, and blight, and pain,
They have closed it with greed, and the curse of Cain -
Saviour, open it wide again!"

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