Scott Cairns’ Poem ‘This The Morning’

scottcairnsI can’t remember when I first met Scott Cairns, but we’ve held (for my part) an affectionate regard over many years. I love Scott’s poetry and his imbued sense of liturgy from his Christian Orthodox perspective.

I was really honored that he responded to my request for a poem from him for Sojourners magazine. (It’s in the December 2009 issue.) I especially love listening to the audio of Scott reading the poem and then responding to a few questions by Sojo assistant editor Jeannie Choi.

Listen to Scott read his poem.

This the Morning
by Scott Cairns

This is the Month, and this the happy morn
Wherein the Son of Heav’ns eternal King,
Of wedded Maid, and Virgin Mother born,
Our great redemption from above did bring …

—“On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity” by John Milton

The issue is, of course, to apprehend
how time’s allegéd passing fails to hold
sufficient grip on what does not depend
upon our moment. The timeless will not fold
quite so neatly into now and then,
but spans a space, vertiginous, and we
may of an instant become likewise drawn
into a mode of being where we see.

Which is to say, His coming now, this day
is likely to be figured best as prime
occasion to observe the truth that we
dwell likewise in a realm outside of time.
As we lean into prayer this year, let’s say
as one: Come Christ God, come this very day.

Scott Cairns is the director of the creative writing program at the University of Missouri. His newest book is The End of Suffering (Paraclete Press, 2009).

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