Elizabeth Jennings was a Christian and a poet. Not that she wrote self-consciously Christian poetry - she wrote poetry informed by a faith open to questions and deeply conscious of those nameless yearnings and persistent longings that fuel Advent hope. The simplicity and seeming innocence of this poem contrast with the apparently more mature stance of sceptical realism, or the obviously less mature stance of sentimental daydreaming. To 'put memory away' is not to ignore, undervalue or shut out the past - it is to refuse to allow the past to define and determine the future. Today is new! Grace is said! The world's no longer old!
Hopeful imagination combines the age-long desires of the human heart, the capacity to see the world as redeemable and God as Redeeming Grace, and takes with utmost seriousness and utmost joy, the baby 'born as God and man'.
Carol for 2000
Put memory away. Today is new.
Carols and bells ring out and take the year
Into their power. They cast out pain and fear
For everyone and you.
Put memory away. Soft sounds are rocking
A newborn child laid in a cradle made
For animals to eat from. Grace is said.
A child puts out a stocking.
Put memory away and watch a world
Grown almost still because a baby can
Convince us he is born of God and man.
The world's no longer old.
Put memory away. Tonight is Now.
And new as children's hopes and old mens eyes
Soon Kings will come and they are rich and wise
But to a child will bow.
Put memory away and have no fear.
A star is shining on a joyful sight.
A young girl's Child is born to us tonight
And casts out pain and war.