They are making a crèche at the Saturday morning classes
For the Christmas party: scissors and paper vie
With fingers and plasticine until there are masses
Of sheep and shepherds that kneel and stand and lie,
And cotton-batting angels with cellophane wings
And a golded cardboard star and string to guide it
And pipe-cleaner camels carrying tinfoil kings
And a real straw manger with Joseph and Mary beside it.
But the manger is empty. The Saturday classes contain
So many different faiths, there is danger
Of giving offence; there was once no room in the inn,
Now there is no room for him in the manger.
Of course he will understand, his love is hearty
Enough to forgive and forget the being slighted
And true enough not to offend at the birthday party
By showing up where he is uninvited.
Besides he is long accustomed to the manners
Of centuries that consecrate the snub
Of Christmas honoured, not the one it honours.
Strange they should trouble to give the crèche a crib.