Their tears come first, drawn by relief and joy,
and then the questions: ‘what if this is wrong?
You seem, beg pardon, poor.’ ‘The angel song,
that drew the shepherds to the new-born boy
and Gabriel’s announcement?’ They deploy
the royal, priestly gifts borne for so long
and kneeling worship with the angel throng.
What other can they do except enjoy?
Jerusalem runs rumour like a cold:
a king, legitimate, of David’s line?
The tyrant sends militias in; they’re told
to cull the toddlers. Outwardly, all’s fine.
Was Herod waiting by the telephone?
Were there reporters clumped, but each alone?
A Christmas Garland – XII: 5 January 2015