The Dove’s Tale
How quiet, how poised she is
for one so young, so far from home.
Look; she is cold.
She draws her cloak around,
stroking her belly’s heavy swell,
leaning into the curve of his caring arm.
He is older, he knows what must be done;
even so, his footsteps falter as he leads her
to the shelter he has found.
No other place remains this night.
How strange, the beasts have cleared a way,
a corner where the hay is fresh and dry.
The first pain steals her breath; he lays her down.
Some of the creatures shuffle,
growing restless at the sound.
Here in shadowed beams I watch
and wait with others of my kind.
The night is still, but there’s a frisson in the air
and one great star spills light
across the countryside, the sleeping town.
How rough his hands yet deft.
He fetches water from a trough
to moisten lips and quench her thirst.
He bathes her forehead with a cooling cloth
and soothes her with his presence
at the moment she gives birth.
Behold! She has a son.
We hear his first sweet earthly cry,
watching as the father lays him,
like a gift, upon her breast.
How hushed her voice, but clear;
the lullaby she sings drifts upwards like a prayer:
‘Butter and honey shall he eat’.
The rafters whisper back the prophet’s words.
As we listen other voices join the song,
a host of angels pouring out their praise,
and men with gifts are kneeling at his feet.
Hearts full of nameless joy,
we lift our heads as one
and every bird joins in the Gloria.