Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Happy Christmas - A Pearse Nativity

This panel, depicting the Nativity, once formed part of a pulpit in St Mary's Church, Athlone. 

The sculptor was James Pearse, father of the Pearse brothers, Patrick and William.

It is now in the Pearse Museum, Rathfarnham.

The New Stable

Once I promised hand-carved figures,
personal, unpolished, to replace those
smiling shop-bought gauds we took out,
stood up, ignored, each Christmas.

I meant it, even thought it out.

Background Joseph in my father’s image,
Mary in mother’s – I can hear her giggle –
wise men the spit of ones we chatted with
on windswept hills in summers years ago.

I was always too busy, too careful.

Too old now, scared of leaving a half set,
a yearly reminder of loss, I made a stable
from memories of those makeshift sheds
which leaned against our houses, long gone.

I worked quickly, planned nothing,

sawed and drilled and fixed for six days,
rough wood for uprights, willow walls,
anxious that it look slipshod, authentic
shelter for animals and passing poor.

I finished it on Christmas Eve,

attached the willow roof, posted a photo
on Facebook but am still unsettled.
I promise next year, if there is a next year,
I’ll carve some figures, shepherds maybe

or a disconcerted donkey.

Michael Farry

No comments: