Poetry Advent Calendar: 21st December

The Ox-and-the-Ass’s Story


We were just about fed-up with dossers and layabouts

Making free, overnight with our stable and our straw –

Some of them plunked themselves down right under our hooves,

Half of them drunk, and twanging their guitars –

Why can’t they cuddle their kids and just keep quiet?


Come to think of it, this particular couple tonight

Did just that. An unmarried mother (most like)

Put her child to the breast, and smiled; the old chap with her

Watched over the lot of us, getting down more hay

For our mangers.

                                We heard some singing, not the drunken kind –

Far-off-like, as if in the sky. Beautiful it was.

Even the baby was listening.

                                                       Quite a nice change,

From the usual carry-on with the booze and the vomiting.

You could call it sleeping rough, but it was gentle

And tender. Made you think well of the human race;

And that doesn’t happen every day.

Elma Mitchell


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Filed under Christmas, Poetry Advent Calendar

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