Today is the second Sunday of Advent, here is the English and Czech of the Second Sunday poem
Bronze shields and spears arranged in ranks
To form the fearsome Greek phalanx
Conquered nations far and wide;
Now there’s a new source of Greek pride:
Bold theories and insightful thoughts
That they debate in marble courts.
“Whose wisdom can outshine our own
Or that of our great pantheon?”
Twixt oracles and temples grand
In Athens a small altar stands
Placed there as a reverent nod
To an as yet unknown god.
But soon That Day will come.
Bronzové štíty a v zákrytu kopí
falangy Řeků když moci se chopí.
Kdo může odolat moci a síle,
přichází Řekové a jejich chvíle.
Nádvoří dlážděné mramorem skvělým
debatám naslouchá, myšlenkám smělým.
“Před naší moudrostí každý se sklání,
vznešený pantheon – bez srovnání!”
V zajetí chrámů, kde lid bohy vzývá,
v Aténách oltář prostý se skrývá
Prostý a vážný uprostřed všeho
k uctění boha neznámého.
Však brzy již vzejde ten den.
I like it, but anyone without the context of Acts 17 is left entirely hanging at the end. I suppose that’s the price of writing something rooted in tradition.
There are lots of different biblical and theological allusions in this 5-part series, (messianic expectations and roles, wisdom theology, Danielic prophecies) the target audience is the biblically literate—my goal in writing it was to create a new Christmas tradition for Czech churches. when I first heard about the metallic names of the Advent Sundays, from an elder of my church, He told me that nobody knows why they are called that. (I assume somebody does, and there is some ancient Church tradition that nobody local remembers.) Biblical associations of the meanings of the various metals and the messianic roles that Christ came to fulfill immediately occurred to me, (the vision of the statue in Daniel, which is in effect an advent passage, since it doesn’t count down the coming of the Messiah in terms of days, but in terms of ruling empires. The silver part of the statue didn’t have much to say, but silver has significant emotive and messianic meaning elsewhere in the Bible, that of the usual price to buy or redeem a slave), and then I put these connections and concepts into verse to give them more lasting impact. This is my little attempt to follow Paul’s example from his second Epistle to the Corinthians and “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
I’d be very happy to talk about this series in more depth with you on your poetry discussion show, if you’d like.
The entire series is available in English on this blog (if you click on the Advent tag under the poem, you can find them all easily), this time round they are being reposted because of the new Czech translation and my progress in attempting to start this new church tradition. So far they are being very well received by my pastor and congregation.
I would be more than happy to mention this series and your blog, as well as any other publications you’d like to. For our discussion, though, I’d like that to be based on Chesterton’s poem. (I say “based on” because, as you probably noticed if you watched any of them, we tend to wander far afield.) I’ll have to read over the whole series and see if maybe I could do these next year for December. We’ll see.
Thanks in advance for joining us, by the way. I’ve found this series of talks a lot of fun so far.