“Deliverance” by Evelyn Bence (poem)

Rego, Paula_The Nativity
Paula Rego (Portuguese British, 1935–2022), The Nativity, 2002. Pastel on paper mounted on aluminum, 21 3/8 × 20 1/2 in. (54 × 52 cm). Palácio de Belém, Lisbon, Portugal. Source: Paula Rego: The Art of Story, p. 226.

It is time.
My body’s clock gongs
your salvation’s hour.
The water has left the pasture
and flowed toward the river’s mouth.
Follow or you will wither
in the desert that remains.
I will bleed for you
on this your first dark journey,
but in time, when life pushes you
headlong through black canyons,
the wounds will be your own.
May you learn early:
at the end light always shines.
It is here, child.
The time is come.

This poem was originally published in the Winter 1982/83 issue of Today’s Christian Woman and appears in the book Mary’s Journal: A Mother’s Story by Evelyn Bence (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992). Used by permission of the author. (Thanks to Maureen E. Doallas, curator of the exhibition Mary, Mary, for introducing me to it!)

Evelyn Bence is a writer and an editor living in Arlington, Virginia. She is the author of Room at My Table; Prayers for Girlfriends and Sisters and Me; Spiritual Moments with the Great Hymns; and the award-winning Mary’s Journal, a novel written in the voice of Jesus’s mother. She has served as religion editor at Doubleday, managing editor for Today’s Christian Woman, and senior editor at Prison Fellowship Ministries. Her personal essays, poems, and devotional reflections have appeared in various publications.

4 thoughts on ““Deliverance” by Evelyn Bence (poem)

  1. I read Mary’s Journal’s every Advent and I am always enriched by new insights each year. This poem gives such a beautiful portrayal of labor and birth and the Scripture that says Jesus “emptied Himself” became so real to me at the manger.


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