Caravaggio, Nativity, 1600


Again we drag out the colored lights,
sing together of all the Holy births,
joyous despite our deep knowledge
that our steps to the Cross
are foreshortened. We sense this
there in the dark corners of the stable.
Every angel’s and mother’s hallelujah
will turn to tears, and our own tragedies
are only blessed as we hold them,
precious gifts, kneeling here,
together, sharing the long journey
with the taste of sweet milk
and vinegar on our tongues.
We kneel with thanksgiving
this night, kneel here embracing
both the Cradle and the Cross.

Published in the December 14, 2018 issue: View Contents

Carol Hamilton has taught in Connecticut, Indiana, and Oklahoma. She is a former Poet Laureate of Oklahoma.

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