There was talk about a star
and a woman, hugely pregnant,
whose husband had been turned
away from the no vacancy
tavern and given an armful
of sweet hay for an overnight
stay in the cow, sheep and goat
filled barn.  A horse maybe,
and chickens.  At that time
everyone everywhere
had chickens, a couple of
ducks. The donkey she had
ridden came to rest with them
too, his bridle removed then
given a bit of cabbage, wilted
but still a special treat.  The
journey had been long for him
and he was not a young donkey.

There could be worse places
to give birth than in a barn,
but not many.  The book
skips that part:  the long
hours of labor, the blood
and Joseph out of his mind
with worry with regret. The
night in its mercy was clear
was windless was moonlit
and he was able to keep her
warm. The innkeeper had
warned against fire and he
dared not chance losing this
small shelter to the street.

The horse, the cow, the sheep
the goat, the chickens and the
duck all knew about birth.
That a human woman would
come to lay down in the sweet
hay to bring her child into the
world as they did was of great
interest to them.  As was the
babe when he finally arrived.
A human child, corded! They
too came corded! And oh such
a beautiful child after he was
cleaned by Joseph, swaddled,
given to her arms, her breast
her soft song, her heartbeat.

And then the visitors. Suddenly
the barnyard was filled with
wealth. Three kings, golden
crowns and servants, camels!
sent by dream brought by star.
Gifts, wondrous caskets filled
to overflow. Suddenly Joseph
could see a small house, warm
fires, food on the table he would
make especially for her.  And a
cradle for the child.  The beautiful


for Tom and Sharon