Friday, December 29, 2006

A Christmas Poem

I wrote this for a contest on Wild Poetry Forum as a poem about work using the technical details of the job in the poem. Of course, I've never done this, and the poem didn't meet the parameters of the contest, but sometimes the imagination runs wild.


Waiting for the Second Coming


The cattle are lowing
but there’s no baby in the manger. Christmas day
dawns cold and bright without a star to follow
or Wise Men who come trudging over the whitened

hills. All I see are the swaying backsides of Guernseys,
tails flicking flies out of habit. They waddle
like old ladies answering the call of church bells
weary from lugging oversized purses

filled with life’s necessary nothings.
They stare in wide-eyed astonishment
that I’ve left the warmth of the house, presents
unopened under the tree as the others snore

snugly in their beds. The suck-suck sound
of my rubber boots in the mud draws them
closer. I lead them one by one into the stalls,
smear antiseptic on the udders, attach

the metal fingers. Liquid rushes through tubing
as the gentle massage begins and the collection tank
fills. I listen to the vacuum motor’s whir,
unthinkingly replace one cow with another.

If there’s a Messiah born on this day,
surely he would be here, nestled dryly
in the loft, adored by his teenage parents,
who have fled their own Caesars and Herods,

I want to rise from this damp straw
that smells of shit, urine and sour milk
to behold the radiance of his face,
the peaceful reassurance that miracles await.

But I’m afraid all I’d find is two scared children
holding a screaming baby, the bloody
afterbirth matted in the hay, a beat-up
Volkswagen hidden behind a clump of evergreens,

and their eyes begging the blessing of my silence.
As the last udder is emptied, a halo
of light descends from the loft window
to circle my thorn-crowned head, and it is finished.

© 2006 Jim Doss

2 comments:

hcross said...

I dig your poem. Religious references and modernity all with a hint of cynicism. Nice.

I was looking for some info on a reference made to thunder in winter from Chekhov's short story "Lady with the Pet Dog" when I came across your poem. I thought I'd leave some appreciation. Now I must study more.

Jim Doss said...

hcross,

thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. good luck on find the chekhov story.