“I walked in darkness”: an anthem for Epiphany

I wrote this one for a competition at St Paul’s Cathedral. They didn’t get back to me, so I’m assuming that someone else won.

The words are by Thomas Thurman, and were written at my request. I like his poetry generally, but have usually worked with finished works; it was interesting and delightful to see this poem taking shape and even have a bit of influence over the wording in one or two lines.

I had hoped to publish this on the feast day of Epiphany itself, but realised the judging panel would be meeting on Tuesday 7th January and I needed to wait until well after then or else risk compromising the anonymity of the process.

I walked in darkness. Many a lonely mile,
My eyes and footsteps hesitant and blind.
I sought a kindly light I did not find
In land or ocean, asking all the while
If lightless lives are taken in exchange
For light eternal. Still the shades of sight
Would whisper, “Even I shall see the light!”
I never thought the light would look so strange.
Not in a temple, echoing and awed,
Nor in a palace, glistening and grand,
Nor in my home, nor any friendly land.
But distant, dirty, in a shed abroad,
I met a maiden bloody from a birth
And in her arms, the light of all the earth.

I walked in darkness — [PDF file] [MIDI file]