Advent poem: ‘Eleven’


Her growing stomach struck me as grotesque.
Some other seed than mine engendered this:
Some stolen love, some alien, wretched bliss
Raped all integrity, all trust suppressed.
To consummate my pledge, by honor pressed,
Would violate that honor, transform kiss
To custom, love to duty, prove remiss
In truth, and make of joy a jest.

Exhausted by despair’s fatigue, I slept
The torment of the God-forsaken dead.
I tossed and turned, or when I woke, I wept,
Until an angel stilled my fears, and said:

“Abandon doubt, and take this quiet boast:
The child she bears is by the Holy Ghost.”

– D.A. Carson, ‘Eleven’ in Holy Sonnets of the Twentieth Century (Grand Rapids/Nottingham: Baker/Crossway, 1994), 27.

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