From The Dog Blog Archives
Return To Article List
A Christmas poem for you. - 12/12/12
I thought I'd send you all a Christmas message; a poem my mother used to read to us at Christmas time.
I grew up in the country, and we had a barn with horses in it, and for awhile a couple of sheep. Our collie would sometimes sleep there, and of course, there were barn cats.
On Christmas Eve my mother would read us a Christmas poem about the animals in a stable, and then she would put me to bed. "Now tonight," she would say, "at midnight, all the horses out in the barn will kneel down to honor the Baby Jesus."
Of course I wanted to go see, but she would say, "No, because if we bother them they'll have to get up. They need to be alone so they can kneel."
I could see the barn from my bedroom window, and I would look out over the moon-covered snow, and imagine the horses all kneeling, and my dog kneeling, and maybe the cats too, although it's hard to picture a cat kneeling to anyone! And I believed.
My mother is dead now, and I don't believe as many things as I used to, but there is one thing I do believe in, and that's the love our animals have for us. I believe that love is in them because it is Out There. All us living things are made up of the all the stuff in the Universe; carbon and oxygen and hydrogen, and it's In Us because it's Out There. So if we have Love in us, and it seems all sentient being do, then it must come from Out There.
This is the poem my mother read to me:
Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock
"Now they are all on their knees,"
An Elder said, as we sat in a flock
By the embers at hearthside ease.
We pictured the meek and mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.
So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years, yet I feel
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
Come, see the oxen kneel,
In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know
I would go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so.
May all of us, for one night at least, believe.