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Richard Causton, George Szirtes – The Flight

For the past hour or so on this Christmas Eve morning we’ve been listening to the Nine Lessons and Carols service live on the BBC from Kings College Chapel in Cambridge. Beautiful stuff as you would expect – lovely choir, big organ, lots of scripture readings.

In addition to the traditional carols, though, there was a new carol, commissioned for this service. The text is from poet George Szirtes, with music by Richard Causton. It’s called The Flight.

The child on the dirt path
finds the highway blocked
The dogs at the entrance
snarl that doors are locked
The great god of kindness
has his kindness mocked

May those who travel light
Find shelter on the flight
May Bethlehem
Give rest to them.

The sea is a graveyard
the beach is dry bones
the child at the station
is pelted with stones
the cop stands impassive
the ambulance drones

We sleep then awaken
we rest on the way
our sleep might be troubled
but hope is our day
we move on for ever
like children astray

We move on for ever
our feet leave no mark
you won’t hear our voices
once we’re in the dark
but here is our fire
this child is our spark.

Powerful stuff this Christmas.

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