The Humble

It is not painted halos
that radiate grace—
Mary’s blood on the straw,
Joseph, carpenter turned midwife.

The room smelled of manure,
not evergreen and pine,
and even the barn animals
snorted and stomped their feet,
indifferent to his birth.

“He has lifted up the humble,”
Mary had sung to the angel.
yet now she lay in the straw,
like a heifer, to give birth.

Yet Mary loved this child
more dearly than life
and even had he been
Joseph’s offspring,
she would have loved him
just as much.

But as the child grew
this would become Mary’s burden
and Mary’s thorn,
that even on the Cross,
her son loved her no more, no less,
than he loved any other woman.

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