A poem for the Nativity
Just before Christmas we had a discussion of Christmas poetry. If I had known the one I give below, I’d have included it. It’s by the British poet Sally Read, and since on another thread below it became clear that not everyone likes it as much as I do, I thought I’d give it its own thread.
Her labour’s heat still cloaked her,
and on that, the night’s cold like a slap.
smell of blood and feed brought to mind
jellied foals on stick-legs. But what she saw
was this: a blubbery pink umbilical cord
tethering God to man, tough as pork-fat.
Who cut it? Joseph with a grafting knife,
and the baby juddered red, fists clenched,
as though falling to the floor.
And was she shocked, as all new mothers are,
by that fresh distance spread between them:
pitch birth eyes appraising her from outside—
as if he hadn’t guessed the voice
of his nine-month world to be so sadly
small and human? She could only do
as all new mothers do: knit his skin
back into hers with warmth, milk and song,
breathing out the pain, as with bony gums
and fierce with need, he latched on.
Sally Read, Christmas 2011