In the bottom of a small-town inn,
Between the heaving sides of cattle beasts,
The stench of moldy straw, wet wool,
And pungent waste ladens the muggy air.
The babble of babies,
The snores of strangers,
The hissing argument of friends falling out
Cannot quite cover the desperate groans
Of a tired young woman below them.
Then piercing through the agony of
Generations without hope
Cries the newborn.
Naked, helpless, needy, squirming humanity
Has brought a remedy
For all the brokenness of humanity.
The mother’s pain births a smile
All shimmery with tears.
The father’s worry melts into joy, pride,
And the heavy burden of responsibility.
Taking sodden straw and leftover lamb rags
Gently they rub clean and wrap
The most Holy One.