Posted by Admin on 23 November 2006, 12:00 am

There was music and laughter
that cold Christmas Eve,
when into its midst without ‘by your leave’
an anonymous stranger by means very weird
from nowhere, it seemed, as if by magic appeared
whose gender from all was completely concealed,
by a grey hooded cloak that no secret would yield.

When complete silence reigned
by a gesture obtained
the intruder its raison d’être then explained.
“This evening a mendicant came to your door,
barefooted, bedraggled, the poorest of poor,
footsore and famished she asked for but bread
and permission to sleep in a stable or shed.
With permission refused, you drove her away,
so for your lack of charity now you shall pay.
With the tempo increasing, you will dance
without ceasing,
treading a measure till you can no more,
and collapse with exhaustion upon the hard floor.”

And so dawn revealed them, asleep as they stood,
or lying supine on the much-polished wood.
Then entered the beggar who, as one might guess,
was the mysterious stranger’s own self no less.
An angel that shone with celestial light
who had come to relieve the dancers’ sad plight,
as the Fount of all Mercy, in Bethlehem born,
would have wished her to do on that cold
Christmas morn.

T. C. Hudson

© T. C. Hudson.
This work may not be reproduced without prior permission of the author.

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