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Watches of the Night

I don’t write much poetry anymore, but I still enjoy reading it from time to time. And so I thought I’d share one my favorites which I stumbled upon a few years back.

Fresh off my recent thoughts on winter, I thought that now might be as fine a time as any to share it. While I suppose only the first stanza truly draws its imagery from winter, somehow the poem seems like it would be best read when the temperature makes your breath turn to fog as it leaves your mouth; or perhaps in front of a roaring fire inside a cabin in deep and snowy woods. Wherever I read it, I find these words have the power to warm my soul, especially when called to endure my own, “watches of the night”.

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Here is the full text if you are unable to see the image above:

Watches of the Night by Kristyn Getty

I look towards the wintering trees
To hush my fretful soul
As they rise to face the icy sky
And hold fast beneath the snow
Their rings grow wide, their roots go deep
That they might hold their height
And stand like valiant soldiers
Through the watches of the night

No human shoulder ever bears
The weight of all the world
But hearts can sink beneath the ache
Of trouble’s sudden surge
Yet far beyond full knowing
There’s a strong unsleeping light
That reaches round to hold me
Through the watches of the night

I have cried upon the steps that seem
Too steep for me to climb
And I’ve prayed against a burden
I did not want to be mine
But here I am and this is where
You’re calling me to fight
And You I will remember
Through the watches of the night
You I will remember
Through the watches of the night

If you’re not familiar with the author, Kristyn Getty, she is an Irish singer now living in the states with her husband Keith. Both of them are incredibly gifted artists. In fact, you can listen to Kristyn’s lovely lilting accent as she reads her poem on.

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