A poem for the Nativity
Joseph A. Komonchak January 19, 2012 - 4:10pm
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.NativityHer labours heat still cloaked her,and on that, the nights cold like a slap.smell of blood and feed brought to mindjellied foals on stick-legs. But what she sawwas this: a blubbery pink umbilical cordtethering 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 outsideas if he hadnt guessed the voiceof his nine-month world to be so sadlysmall and human? She could only doas all new mothers do: knit his skinback into hers with warmth, milk and song,breathing out the pain, as with bony gumsand fierce with need, he latched on.Sally Read, Christmas 2011
About the Author
Rev. Joseph A. Komonchak, professor emeritus of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, is a retired priest of the Archdiocese of New York.