Monday, December 21, 2020

Alfred Noyes

Alfred Noyes (1880―1958) is an English poet who grew up in Wales. He was educated at Oxford, but missed getting his degree because, during his finals, he was meeting with his publisher to arrange for his first poetry collection, The Loom of Years (1902). During WWI he wrote poems and stories to boost morale; he was made a CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in 1918.

In his 1934 book of apologetics The Unknown God, Alfred Noyes outlines the intellectual steps which led him from agnosticism to Christian faith. He became a Catholic in 1927.

In a 1995 BBC poll, his much-anthologized poem “The Highwayman” was voted Britain’s 15th most popular poem.

A Belgian Christmas Eve

Thou, whose deep ways are in the sea,
Whose footsteps are not known,
To-night a world that turned from Thee
Is waiting—at Thy Throne.

The towering Babels that we raised
Where scoffing sophists brawl,
The little Antichrists we praised—
The night is on them all.

The fool hath said ... The fool hath said ...
And we, who deemed him wise,
We who believed that Thou wast dead,
How should we seek Thine eyes?

How should we seek to Thee for power
Who scorned Thee yesterday?
How should we kneel, in this dread hour?
Lord, teach us how to pray!

Grant us the single heart, once more,
That mocks no sacred thing,
The Sword of Truth our fathers wore
When Thou wast Lord and King.

Let darkness unto darkness tell
Our deep unspoken prayer,
For, while our souls in darkness dwell,
We know that Thou art there.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. His latest poetry collection is Ampersand (2018, Cascade). His books are available through Amazon, and Wipf & Stock, including the anthologies The Turning Aside, and Adam, Eve, & the Riders of the Apocalypse.