Yesterday seems like a dream.

This morning, queuing to be counted
by the pomposity of small officialdom
– yes – I have a wife, and son
just born yesterday,
that’s why they’re not here in person, you understand.
Weighed and measured, ticked off in every way.

Yesterday seems like a dream.

The pressure of arrival:
a flapping of judgmental relatives; nope, no way!
The Bethany cousins are all camped in the upper room
and Simon’s family is full up too.
Go squeeze in the stockroom with the chickens and all
and be careful!
Don’t you dare bruise the Passover lamb.

The agony of helplessness watching her labour,
banished outside at the worst moment,
women’s business, apparently.
Men pace around waiting, waiting for that first squall
screaming all is well, new life awakes.
Can I see him? Can I hold him?

Yesterday seems like a dream.

Today, facing again the curious stares:
Him? oh yeah, and that young chick from Nazareth…
…that’s not what I heard! Still he did the right thing, made it official,
not the first time a wedding’s been gazumped!
Not the first time, I want to shout,
But it IS the first time, the first and only time,
Don’t you understand who my son really is?

Yesterday seems like a dream.

Marvelling at the ridiculous perfection
of newborn frail limbs, fluffy head,
cloudy eyes blink in the starlight
Startled to fresh wailing by the bizarre appearance
of rough rustic spectators – sure, an angel told you?
I know what that’s like.
Come in, meet our king! – just wait a tick,
his mum’s rewrapping him after the last poonami, sorry.

Mingled chaos and serenity,
tiny oasis amid confusion, I meet my Mary’s eyes
smiling into mine, filmed with exhaustion, shining in exultation.
He’s here, Joseph. He’s perfect. He’s ours.
And yet everybody’s, I think, isn’t that the point?
Not my blood – yet are we not both of David’s house?
Not my flesh – yet is it not my arms that hold him,
My hands that will protect him, raise him, teach him?
Ah, the burden. The blessing.

Yesterday seems like a dream.
Yet I have never felt more awakened.

Silhouette of father holding laughing baby in air, with sunset background
Photo by Jochen van Wylick on Unsplash

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