Midnight Mass in the Pyrenees

The village choir sings out of tune,
the ancient curé’s sermon
the one he must use every year
aimed at the awkward children

whose parents push them to the front
to crowd around the crèche
where one of them’s now tasked to put
the infant who’d unleash

the centuries in which these stones
would house the hopes and fears
of generations who’d accept
his legacy’s frontiers

as they’d accept this valley as
an all-containing world
in which the story of their lives
would day-by-day unfurl.

Now most of us are only here
for the skiing – if we believe
in anything, it’s not the tale
which goes with Christmas Eve

and yet, we’ve felt the need to come
where a thousand years of prayer
gave meaning to the spans of those
whose limits we compare

to our wider, deeper knowledge of
every question mark
which leaves us both enlightened and
forever in the dark

but wondering for a few hours if
tonight’s simplicity
has somehow blessed us, even in
our proud uncertainty.

Tom Vaughan

If you have any thoughts on this poem, Tom Vaughan would be pleased to hear them.