Even those of little faith are predisposed
on Christmas Eve for wonder, I suppose,
as night grows late and great with child.
Those shepherds of so long ago had trained their eyes
on earth: too much of gazing up at skies
and sheep go missing in the wild.
Thus shepherds don’t discourse with angels as a rule.
Nor I. But I am keen on tidings yule
and probably disqualified.
Still, hear me out: I went about my routine tasks
with eyes on earth before the midnight mass,
expecting bread and wine to hide
not less – or more – than mystery. Outside the door
the night was lit. I stopped. I’d not before
known midnight give a bird its note
as though at dawn, but softly as a lullaby –
and earth become all ear, with no reply
but something catching in the throat.
But if you think the wonder of the bird and song
the marvellous epiphany, you’re wrong.
It was the sky – no other place.
Susceptibility in me won’t sink so low
as claim a real miracle – oh no.
Yet, as I gazed at outer space,
I saw full mother-moon and off-spring aura bright,
and a second aura capture light from light –
with light-years singing in between:
Hosannas heaved. I heard them. Not with day-time ears,
but night-ears heard their music, calming fears
of aeons. So: epiphany.
I took it back inside with me as I returned
to routine tasks with thoughts of heaven. I’d learned
to train my eyes on high surprises.