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the last straw

Poems introducing readings for a carol service.

These poems were written to be read by one person acting as a narrator or commentator on one of the traditional carol service bible readings. Each poem comes immediately before the corresponding reading, while the bible passage itself should be read, as is the usual custom, by a different person each time. If it is practical, the narrator should not read from the same lectern (or other location) as the bible readers.

The poems can of course be used independently of one another, and in other contexts, and all of them have been used in this way, most commonly The word and The magi.


The sequence was written for the carol service at St John's, West Ealing, in 1997.

The fall

The promise

The word 

The annunciation

The nativity

The shepherds

The magi

The flight into Egypt