The Incarnation Sonnets

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Incarnation I



I blossom forth delights on fruitful vine;
My grapes are opulent and fair,
Productive of a deep, supernal wine
Of highest knowledge, hope, and fear.

Late summer’s honey, heavy in the comb,
Shall never be as golden nor as sweet
As I am sweet. O thou who yearnest, come,
And taste my fruits and rest thy weary feet!

Yet, they who eat of me shall hunger still,
And those who drink yet thirst from more to more.
My branches bend to all who bend their will
And seek the gifts I keep in endless store.

Time stops for those who wander in my grove,
That they may know the Mother of Fair Love.



Immaculati Cordis Beatae Mariae Virginis




Incarnation II



My lover cometh like a youthful stag
Leaping on light across the ageless hill,
A wild gazelle, bright morning’s beauteous brag,
Bounding off rock and crag and crystal rill!

The tree puts forth its figs upon the bough;
The flowers bend, the pruning time is nigh;
The vines give grapes, the barn receives the plough;
The gentle zephyr waves through fields of rye.

Arise, my soul’s desire, my tender dove!
In the clefts of the rock I hear Thy voice;
For, Thou art sweet, my one, my only love!
In the cliff’s secret nook dost Thou rejoice,

Whilst I prepare Thy Spirit’s nuptial bed,
That human flesh be lifted from the dead.



Sancti Dominici Confessoris



Incarnation III



Law’s words on tablets made of stone
We kept within our man-made chest of gold;
But she, the untouched Ark of flesh, alone,
Would bear the Living Word our seers foretold.

The manna man once ate but perished by,
Within a golden jar we there preserved;
But she, who won the heart of the Most High,
The Bread of Life within her tent reserved.

She flowered, like the bloom of Aaron’s Rod,
But gave her blood to form the higher Priest:
Her virgin flesh would veil the unseen God,
That we should see His rising in the East.

In her fair garden Heaven would conceive
The one Redeemer of the sons of Eve.



Immaculati Cordis Beatae Mariae Virginis



Incarnation IV



Mine eyes shall hold the sun, yet not go blind;
And I shall hear the voice of my First Cause,
But neither deafen nor grow mute: God’s mind
Had held me ere He fixed the heavens’ laws.

And though I be encompassed in His shade,
That timelessness touch time within my womb,
I yet remain inviolate, the Maid
Of Him who comes to lift us from the tomb.

Alas, what greater scandal could there be
Than the Almighty swathed in human flesh?
The darkened eyes of hate shall cease to see,
And men of blood renew their wars afresh.

Send up my answer, angel, undeterred:
Let it be done me, keeping with Thy word!



Decollatione S. Joannis Baptistae




Incarnation V



Descending from the heavens’ highest throne,
To one of dust, He keeps His Father’s height;
Beyond our ken, He’s yet completely known;
Invisible, He now shows forth His light!

Preceding all that ever was in time,
A Virgin’s utterance begins His days;
The Lord of all that is, beyond sublime,
He comes to us a servant stripped of praise!

True man by nature and by nature God,
In Him the human and divine are one,
Though these be twain and each remain unflawed:
The Father is revealed in Mary’s Son!

That we should call her blessed, the Scriptures proved:
The Unmoved Mover by her heart was moved.



S. Rosae a Sancta Maria Limange Virginis




© Joseph Charles MacKenzie. All Rights Reserved.


Winner of the 2020 Society of Classical Poets Competition (America's highest honor in classical verse), Joseph Charles MacKenzie is a traditional lyric poet of New Mexico. He is also the only American to have won the Scottish International Poetry Competition (see: Times Literary Supplement, Jan 27, 2017). A Pushcart Prize nominee, MacKenzie's verses have appeared in The New York Times, The Scotsman (Edinburgh), The Independent (London), The Telegraph (London), and many other venues. He wirtes primarily for Trinacria (New York) and the Society of Classical Poets (New York).

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