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This is an archived website containing material relating to Dr Rowan Williams’ time as Archbishop of Canterbury, which ended on 31st December 2012

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'Advent Calendar' - a poem by Dr Rowan Williams

Monday 12th December 2011

The poem 'Advent Calendar' by Archbishop Rowan Williams was published in his first poetry collection, 'After Silent Centuries' (Oxford, 1994), and is now available in 'The Poems of Rowan Williams' (Oxford, 2002 and Grand Rapids MI, 2004).

'Advent Calendar' was set to music by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies as one of the 44 Anthems in the Choirbook for the Queen which was launched at Southwark Cathedral in November 2011.


Advent Calendar

He will come like last leaf's fall.
One night when the November wind
has flayed the trees to the bone, and earth
wakes choking on the mould,
the soft shroud's folding.

He will come like frost.
One morning when the shrinking earth
opens on mist, to find itself
arrested in the net
of alien, sword-set beauty.

He will come like dark.
One evening when the bursting red
December sun draws up the sheet
and penny-masks its eye to yield
the star-snowed fields of sky.

He will come, will come,
will come like crying in the night,
like blood, like breaking,
as the earth writhes to toss him free.
He will come like child.


© Rowan Williams



Click here for a bibliography of Dr Williams' published work, including his poetry.



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