Monday, December 21, 2015

Norman Nicholson*

Norman Nicholson (1914—1987) is an English poet, born in the town of Millom, Cumbria, where he lived his entire life—with the exception of almost two years in his teens in a tuberculosis sanatorium.

He was born the year WWI started, and "born again" the year WWII started—1939. Both place and faith are significant themes in his verse. He valued life away from large cities, and was a fervent environmentalist. He was over 40 when he met and married his wife, Yvonne.

When he was in his twenties, he was a protégé of T.S. Eliot who published his work with Faber & Faber. In addition to seven collections of poetry, he also wrote novels, plays, criticism and essays. When he died The Times obituary acclaimed him 'the most gifted English Christian provincial poet of his century'.

Carol for the Last Christmas Eve

The first night, the first night,
The night that Christ was born,
His mother looked in his eyes and saw
Her maker in her son.

The twelfth night, the twelfth night,
After Christ was born,
The Wise Men found the child and knew
Their search has just begun.

Eleven thousand, two fifty nights,
After Christ was born,
A dead man hung in the child's light
And the sun went down at noon.

Six hundred thousand or thereabout nights,
After Christ was born,
I look at you and you look at me
But the sky is too dark for us to see
And the world waits for the sun.

But the last night, the last night,
Since ever Christ was born,
What his mother knew will be known again,
And what was found by the Three Wise Men,
And the sun will rise and so may we,
On the last morn, on Christmas morn,
Umpteen hundred and eternity.

*This is the second Kingdom Poets post about Norman Nicholson: first post

Entry written by D.S. Martin. His latest poetry collection, Conspiracy of Light: Poems Inspired by the Legacy of C.S. Lewis, is available from Wipf & Stock as is his earlier award-winning collection, Poiema.