Traditionally, Gaspar, Melchoir and Balthasar
show up with their exotic gifts, though the Bible
does not name them and some scholars believe
the Chinese sage Liu Shang might have attended
with a gift of silk rather than myrrh. Or even
better - fireworks. The Christ child's missing
fingers suggest he already has some experience
with cherry bombs or Red Devil Ground Blasters.
In this crèche, though, the magi have yet to arrive.
There are no camels, just a plaster zebra peering
over Mary's shoulder. Joseph must have stepped
out for milk or cigarettes. The weight of adoration
has fallen onto the shoulders of a single, scowling
shepherd with binoculars slung around his neck.
He is still keeping watch over his flock despite
that mischievous star that lured him from his
tranquil hillside and utterly bewildered dog.
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Comments about this poem (Roadside Creche by Ronald Koertge )
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