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I confess I've never read this beautiful poem. Thank you for introducing me to it, your abbreviated exegesis is wonderful.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I love this poem, and now read it every Nativity season. It's a blessing to read some of your thoughts about it.

Out of so many beautiful and quotable parts, this exchange is probably my favorite this year:

Mary

My flesh in terror and fire
Rejoices that the Word
Who utters the world out of nothing,
As a pledge of His word to love her
Against her will, and to turn
Her desperate longing for love,
Should ask to wear me,
From now to their wedding day,
For an engagement ring.

Gabriel

Since Adam, being free to choose,
Chose to imagine he was free
To choose his own necessity,
Lost in his freedom, Man pursues
The shadow of his images:
To-day the Unknown seeks the known;
What I am willed to ask, your own
Will has to answer; child, it lies
Within your power of choosing to
Conceive the Child who chooses you.

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