Christmas With The Angels


For the True Believer, A Few Questions

 For the true believer, a few questions:
We have heard that Christ slept in a manger.
We want to know, did he dream?  And if so,
was he subject to nightmares, as we are?
Or blind passions?  Our taste for passing things:
bags of cheap glitter, velvet platform shoes,
ostrich feathers, silver pants, city lights?
Does he lie with us on the dirty tile,
rocked, as we are, by anger, beauty, night,
by her slim hands, by his perfect young face?
Tell us: what of this is vanity, and
what worship, a struggle to recall dreams
after waking, a sinner's prayer, proof that
we are made of dust, but in his image?


“God must be mad,” the angel said,
“Rags and straw for a bed;
the old man buffeted by dreams,
the priest gone mute, the common beasts
and shepherds under dizzy stars
and wizards on the desert sand
the only souls awake
in a world both blind and deaf.”

Then the child opened his new eyes,
the virgin took a ragged breath,
and bowing low over the miracle
the angel wept.


I can’t hold this mystery:
a child contains the earth and sea
and all the stars that hide heaven
and all the darkness between them
every rose, every tongue of fire
every scheme, every desire
and all the dreams that you and I
can stand to dream before we die
every hour the sun has burned
since God first asked the world to turn
and every precious day until
he commands it to stand still.

This child: his dreams are history
new creatures springing into being
angels staring from the clouds
as the blind watch the lame stand and walk
and when he wakes, all our hearts
are burnt with the flame that lit the stars
and our one hope is that the son of God
remembers us kneeling in the mud
with the lion and the lamb
when he drew his first breath as a man.