(With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore, whose famous poem I have unabashedly ripped off.)
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the shed
Not a creature was stirring, not a sheep raised its head;
The cuds they were chewed both with thought and with care,
In hopes that fresh barley soon would be there.
The lambs they were nestled all snug in their beds,
While dreams of spring sunshine danced in their heads;
And I in my granary, just over the stalls,
Had settled my litter within the barn walls.
When out in the yard there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my hole to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a Finch,
Squeezed under the frame, for a mouse it’s a cinch.
The moon, on the dust of the street by the inn,
Gave the lustre of dawn to the courtyard within.
When, what to my curious eyes should befall,
But a woman, a man, and a donkey so small.
They spoke to the innkeep, so fair and so kind,
But he was right full, no spare room could he find.
More tired than dogs the young couple appeared,
As the innkeep explained what they already feared.
“There’s no room left here, not a corner is free
The hall it is full, but you’re beat I can see.
I’ve a stable in back, it’s not much I agree
But it’s yours for the night, you can have it for free.”
So out to the stable the strangers they came,
With their bags and their food and their donkey so lame.
And then, in a twinkling, as they walked up the lane,
I saw that the woman was in some great pain.
She was holding her tummy, so tight and so round,
Her forehead it glistened like dew on the ground.
With gentle, quick motions, the man made a bed,
In a manger of straw, with a robe for her head.
As I scurried still closer, I plainly could see,
That the two there before me would shortly be three.
And so mid the cooing, the lowing, the sighs,
Our stable was blessed with a baby’s first cries.
His eyes – how they twinkled; his dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
The stable was quiet, but none were asleep,
As we watched there before us the mystery deep.
All creatures lay silent, in awe and in peace,
The mice with the cats and the ducks with the geese.
We spoke not a word but we knew it was true,
This scene we had witnessed had made all things new.
Then laying a finger aside of his nose,
He cooed very softly, his eyes they did close;
His mother, she sighed, and she sang him a song
His father’s eyes shining as he hummed along.
And the angels they echoed at this peaceful sight
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”