The Cradle of the Winds

By Frances Chesterton

FROM frozen ice lands blows the wind of the North,
The cold wind of danger, wild wind of wrath,
Mystery wind, sing loud, sing deep,
Sing to a Babe that is lying asleep,
      Sing loud, sing deep;
Blow wind, blow through the stable door,
Scatter the dead leaves over the floor.
Mary, fold closer the covering hay;
Wind of the North that comes this way,
Is quick to harden, quick to slay;
      Pray, Mary pray.

From the high mountain blows the wind of the East,
The dry wind of menace, anger released;
Magical wind, sing low, sing high,
Sing to an ass that standing by,
      Sing low, sing high.

Blow wind, blow through the narrow chink,
Ox, ass and sheep may tremble and shrink.
Mary, wait for the sign of day;
Wind of the East that comes this way,
Ready for battle, ready to flay;
      Pray, Mary pray.

From golden deserts blows the wind of the south,
Wind of the spices, a kiss on the mouth;
Whispering wind, sing up, sing down,
Sing to a Maid, that shall wear a crown,
      Sing up, sing down.
Blow wind, blow through the broken rafter,
Fill the pitiful stable with laughter,
Gently blow where Angels play;
Wind of the South that comes this way
Ever to wander, never to stay.
      Pray, Mary pray.

From the deep forest blows the wind of the West,
Wind of the Spirit, wind of the Quest,
O changing wind, sing shine, sing rain,
Sing to the world that is born again,
      Sing shine, sing rain;
Breathe, softly breather and lift the hair
Of the Child that lies in slumber there,
Wind so gracious, wind so gay,
Wind of the West that comes this way,
Lightly let His cradle sway,
      Pray, Mary pray.

He holds the great winds in His helpless hand
From forest and desert, mountain and land,
The octave notes from near and far
Call to the men who follow a Star
      From near, from far;
Winds, shake the bells in the high church steeple,
Summon the king, the priest and the people,
Each in his ordained array,
To holy night, to holy day;
The winds of God have come this way.
      Pray, Mary pray.

—from G.K.’s Weekly