Very belated, for the Weekend Wordsmith

April 8, 2010

I imagined that one day,
when I was one of the big kids,
I would get to sing the descant
in the Christmas service.

The titchies would sing the easy bits,
then the elevated Older Children
would burst out with the canticle of the angels,
towering above our mortal efforts.

And then, we were far away from home,
where nobody sang descants,
there weren’t any student Christmas services,
and Africa was an epithet
used to deride our lack of culture,
our ignorance of the things that
really mattered.

And all these years later,
at the last lingering notes
of every Christmas melody or Easter hymn,
my heart lifts on the wings of an ibis,
cries out the eucalyptus-scented descant
and longs to return home.