So why did I do it?
It still isn't clear.
The rooms were all taken;
The busiest this year.
And all of them dusty,
And all of them tired.
The trek to their birth-place
By Rome now required.
A census, the issue.
A right royal pain.
And doubtless the purpose
More tribute to gain.

The evening was settling,
The rush nearly o'er.
But still came a knocking
For help at my door.
The couple so tender,
The young girl with child.
The husband imploring
With eyes almost wild.
About to refuse them,
I glanced once at her.
Amazingly peaceful
And patient, demure...

"But wait, there's the stable.
Not much of a spot.
But shelter and bedding;
That's all I have got.
And liquids and lanterns
And clean swaddling fare.
Go quickly, my children,
Your baby comes there!"
(And so near my livestock
Messiah was born.
The night sky, the shepherds,
The earth-changing morn.)


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