Richard Bauckham: Advent Haiku

Haiku for an Advent Calendar
Richard Bauckham

Day 1 – Genesis
After paradise
not even Lot’s wife looks back.
Memory turns round.

Day 2 – Exodus
The bones of Joseph
in their gilt sarcophagus
travel night and day

Day 3 – Leviticus
If she is too poor
to afford a sheep, she may
offer two pigeons.

Day 4 – Numbers
Dawn in my distance,
the wise watchers will see him,
star of their searching.

Day 5 – Deuteronomy
Moses from Pisgah
overviews all. It is not
space but time he lacks.

Day 6 – Joshua
Going over Jordan
Joshua above all sees
that the ark goes first.

Day 7 – Judges
Said the trees to the
bramble, ‘Come, be our ruler!’
‘Wait!’ said the mustard.

Day 8 – Samuel
Hannah, drunk as an
apostle at Pentecost,
magnifies the Lord.

Day 9 – Kings
She came with riddles.
His more than answers more than
took her breath away.

Day 10 – Isaiah
In the wilderness
a voice cries for centuries
seeking an echo.

Day 11 – Jeremiah
Rachel refuses
to be comforted – even
when we turn the page.

Day 12 – Ezekiel
In the end it is
all in the name of the city:
The Lord is there.

Day 13 – The Twelve Prophets
Then, as before, will
Bethlehem bear the shepherd
of the scattered sheep.

Day 14 – Psalms
If there were glory
only, praise like the last psalms,
would that be the end?

Day 15 – Proverbs
Too clever by half
are the foolish. The wise know
the folly of God

Day 16 – Job
God answered Job but
not his question. Maybe he
will do that again.

Day 17 – Song of Solomon
Yes, he will haste like
a gazelle. Nothing is more
impatient than love.

Day 18 – Ruth
Tough old Naomi
bounces a child on her knee –
her wild hope come home.

Day 19 – Lamentations
Jerusalem hurls
her desperate hopes against
God’s forgetfulness.

Day 20 – Ecclesiastes
Whatever God does
and whoever else may be
who knows? The wise wait.

Day 21 – Esther
counts for nothing when Esther’s
G-d is in the plot.

Day 22 – Daniel
dreams of the doom of despots
and the wide world wakes.

Day 23 – Ezra-Nehemiah
After the exile
returnees did not look back
more than could be helped.

Day 24 – Chronicles
Adam, Seth, Enoch,
Noah, Abraham, David,
Zerubbabel …

Notes: The sequence is that of the twenty-four biblical books in the Hebrew Bible. These verses are haiku in form (5-7-5 syllables), but not content.