wordsout by Godfrey Rust                                          back to advent forward to epiphany    HOME

poems and readings for


Most of the pieces listed here were written for carol services and are used at events each year in the UK and elsewhere.

For good length, 'reassuring' Christmas poems (2-4 minutes, and not requiring great acting skills) try Joseph and the shepherds, Poem for Christmas Eve or the more recent Gabriel's revelation

More edgy and unsettling are Baby crying and the longer Herod's last request (if read well you can hear a pin drop at the end of 'Herod').

What kind of Messiah? is a tongue in cheek reflection on how we would like the promised Saviour to behave. Skin starts at Christmas and imagines Christ's life from some of the senses of his human body. The last poem in the Magi sequence, The epiphany, can also be used effectively on its own as a longer reading.

More jokey pieces for one or more performers acting out a particular role are Light of the world, the mock bulletin News just in and A child is born, which works particularly well if you are able to use Powerpoint or similar slides to show the spoof questionnaire. 

Incarnate - written for Christmas 2013 - is a serious piece, not long but with the broadest scope of any, a two-part telling of the story within universal history, usable as a single poem or split into a "prologue" and "epilogue" to an event.

As well as the shorter poems listed, any of The last straw can be used as short poems on their own - The word, The nativity and The magi probably best - as might the poems about the birth (Dancing) and the shepherds (Modus operandi ) from A Christmas commentary.  

Finally there are four sequences which were created as narrative frameworks for a whole service or concert when mixed with other elements:

The last straw comprises eight short poems acting as introductions to some of the usual carol service bible readings.

The six pieces of A Christmas commentary follow and provide a perspective on specific bible readings, and the four Prayers of hope are prayers used in the same way.

The four longer poems of Magi provide a contemporary interpretation of the story which can be shared among any number of voices.

If you choose to use any of these in your events, or have other comments about them which you think may be helpful to me or others, please let me know.

Painting "In the beginning was the word" by Shiloh Sophia McCloud, www.shilohsophiastudios.com. 


Joseph and the shepherds 

Poem for Christmas Eve 

What kind of Messiah? from A Christmas commentary

Baby crying 

Herod's last request 


Gabriel's revelation   

Light of the world (with version for 2 voices)

News just in (for 1 or 2 voices)

A child is born (with version for 5 voices)


The epiphany from Magi


The journey of the magi (cont.)

Come, Immanuel 

Nappy Christmas

Notes for a biography

Any poem from The last straw

Dancing or Modus operandi from A Christmas commentary


four narrative sequences 

The last straw 

     The fall 

     The promise

     The word 

     The annunciation 

     The nativity 

     The shepherds   

     The magi  

     The flight into Egypt

A Christmas commentary


     What kind of Messiah?


     Modus operandi

     The fourth king's gift



     The seekers

     The journey  

     The gifts   

     The epiphany

Prayers of hope