Thursday, December 10, 2009

Joseph's Lament

Traveled too far for the girl to end up like this,
bent in pain, tears mixed with sweat, and totally spent.
The cries of the child, this child not mine, in such darkness,
echoing against the stone walls, rising above the lows and bleats.
Cries that rend my soul.

For a dream did I stake this union, sure that I had heard from the Most High.
Yet, the house filled above, while she and I outcast with beast,
lying in straw and dung, searching desperately for cloths to cover the infant,
speak to the lucidity of my vision.
I am undone.

The arguing in halls overhead stirs the ass beside us.
Handing her the strips I find, she wraps the babe.
Sets him in the swine trough after I clear the refuse.
Footsteps descend from the stairs above, and slurred voices rise.
Who now, at this time of night?

She pulls her garment across her body just as they step into the lower room.
The stench betrays these men as herders, nomads.
I go to stop them when one grasps my arm.
Another trods past and falls to the flooring before the boy.
More follow, speaking of the sign.

Fit near rage, I break from the man's grip,
but then I stop.
These sheepherders, these outcasts, they groan praises.
Praises to the child. To this King. Praises to the Lord God of Hosts.
In this moment I am struck.
Who am I to do this?


Milly said...


Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed hearing you read this last night. And now I get to read it for myself, and share it with my husband.

Thank you, Rich.


Anonymous said...

Also what in that case to do?