Christmas Trees

by Geoffrey Hill

Bonhoeffer in his skylit cell
bleached by the flares’ candescent fall,
pacing out his own citadel,

restores the broken themes of praise,
encourages our borrowed days,
by the logic of his sacrifice.

Against the wild reasons of the state
his words are quiet but not too quiet.
We hear too late or not too late.


Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran pastor and theologian who actively worked against the Nazi state and the collusion of the church with Hitler's cause. He was executed on April 9, 1945 for his connection to a plot to assassinate Hitler. For a brief introduction to Bonhoeffer, see Christianity Today’s Christian History blog.

Geoffrey Hill is an Welsh poet who currently the Oxford Professor of Poetry. He is married to the librettist and Anglican priest, Alice Goodman.


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