I wrote this poem last year as part of a Christmas talk I gave in Church. I think we were all there, singing with the heavenly host, on that supremely important night in Bethlehem. May our hearts continue to sing His praise at Christmas and every day.
The Midwife’s Poem
I’d been up all the night before
with another babe. This was a few more than
thirty years back. The innkeeper’s girl
came running; said it was the woman’s first child—
And you never know how that’s going to be.
I got a lantern and my things and went out.
It was a lovely, soft night, with starlight
falling to earth like white veils,
but the streets were crowded because of the Roman census.
The girl didn’t take me to the inn, but back where the
animals were. The man and his wife had come from Nazareth.
I remember she was charming, even at her time.
I liked the look of him, too, like he was about to be a father
and knew what that might mean, as much as anyone can.
I sent the girl away and tried to shoo the husband out
but he wouldn’t go; said he’d help, and he got water and put
clean hay in an old manger, and sponged off her face.
I’ve since wondered what happened to them.
I tried to reassure her—first babies take their time.
Between her pains, I asked if she thought it was a boy or a girl
and they both said, “It’s a boy,” like they had some way of
knowing. And as it happened, they were right: a fine boy,
who cried out right away. I cleaned him off and wrapped him up
and put him in her arms—he stopped crying.
I know you won’t believe this, but it happened just this way:
When the babe fell silent, off in the distance,
like children and men and women all together,
and maybe the angels with them in that starlight—
I heard the most beautiful song.
Lisa Bolin Hawkins, December 2016