Cicely Fox Smith

(1 February 1882 – 8 April 1954 / Lymm, Cheshire)

New Heavens – New Earth (Christmas, 1916) - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

Nigh Bethlehem town poor shepherds heard
Beside their cotes a wondrous word:
'Nowell, Nowell' (the song did pour),
'Nowell, Nowell, from ship to shore,
Nowell, Nowell, the whole world o'er,
New Heavens, new Earth, for evermore!'

Is this, then, all - earth's countless dead,
Her homes whence Christmas joy is fled,
Such spilth of blood, such seas of tears -
The harvest of two thousand years?
And shall the War Star's blood-red light
Put out the Star of Bethlehem quite?
The cannon's thunder wholly drown
The Angels' song nigh Bethlehem town?

'Nowell, Nowell, from ship to shore,
For ever and for evermore!'
You Christmas bells, how shall you ring?
You Christmas choirs, how shall you sing,
When bells whose praise for centuries rung
To earth in molten heaps are flung,
And shrill the heedless bullet sings
By altars of the King of Kings, -
How shall you sing as oft of yore,

'Nowell, Nowell, the whole world o'er,
New Heavens, new Earth, for evermore?'

Be still, O doubting heart recall
How but through Death came Life for all;
The road was trod for you and me
From Bethlehem - even to Calvary:
The light which round the Manger shone
More glorious lit the rolled-back stone.

You hero souls, rejoicing bear
Your gold, your frankincense and myrrh;
More rich than gold, more sweet than spice
The fragrance of your sacrifice!
You mourners, lift your weeping eyes,
Look up, behold the rifted skies:
Lo, darkest night hath brightest morn,
The glory of the world re-born!

And all the molten bells shall ring,
And all the broken hearts shall sing,
And all the risen dead shall raise
With one accord their endless praise:
'Nowell, Nowell' (the song shall pour),
'Nowell, Nowell, from ship to shore,
New Heavens, new Earth, the whole world o'er,
For ever, yea, for evermore!'

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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010

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