We are dumb animals, oxen chewing, cows
breathing steam in the litter. Greasy sheep.
We walk winter, nearly spent in the leafless dark,
waiting for some thrust, some flare of life in the belly.
The signs, wonders, angels hovering over stars
are not the gift; the gift is by birth and blood.
A woman and a miracle wrapped tight together:
God bundled in a girl, shepherd in the sheep’s womb.
There’s shit in the stable, flies and rotting hay,
but a pearl is hidden there, sleeping where animals feed.
When the world opens its greedy red velvet mouth,
shut it with the base and the exalted flesh – shut it with singing.