Only recently was I introduced to author and poet Elizabeth Madox Roberts (1881-1941). Although she lived before my time, I feel a kinship to her--native of neighboring state Kentucky and writer of historical fiction. Her titles are now on my to-read list.
In the meantime, in this season of special times and special observances, I share one of her poems. Merry Christmas!
If Bethlehem were here today,
Or this were very long ago,
There wouldn't be a winter time
Nor any cold or snow.
I'd run out through the garden gate,
And down along the pasture walk;
And off beside the cattle barns
I'd hear a kind of gentle talk.
I'd move the heavy iron chain
And pull away the wooden pin;
I'd push the door a little bit
And tiptoe very softly in.
The pigeons and the yellow hens
And all the cows would stand away;
Their eyes would open wide to see
A lady in the manger hay,
If this were very long ago
And Bethlehem were here today.
And Mother held my hand and smiled--
I mean the lady would--and she
Would take the woolly blankets off
Her little boy so I could see.
His shut-up eyes would be asleep,
And he would look just like our John,
And he would be all crumpled too,
And have a pinkish color on.
I'd watch his breath go in and out.
His little clothes would all be white.
I'd slip my finger in his hand
To feel how he could hold it tight.
And she would smile and say, "Take care,"
The mother, Mary, would, "Take care;"
And I would kiss his little hand
And touch his hair.
While Mary put the blankets back,
The gentle talk would soon begin.
And when I'd tiptoe softly out
I'd meet the wise men going in.
--Elizabeth Madox Roberts (1881-1941)