Sensing the stable
New-born eyes don’t focus for a while,
but warmed by the breath of animals
and the love of a young girl,
the baby gradually became aware
of a cow that woke him when she lowed,
a donkey nibbling straw, the breeze
whispering through the door to ruffle his hair,
clouds of sparkling dust that made him cough,
the fragile peace pierced as anobium punctatum
punctured the wooden feeding trough
that was serving as a cradle.
He smelled the stable’s bitter pungency,
laced with a sweet scent of hay;
heard scratchy rustles as a mouse
dragged a husk of corn across the rough
stone floor, warm mumbles of a dove
shifting her feathers in the rafters.
He felt straw prickle on his skin, tasted
the sweet milk of a mother’s love, cried
for the lost Eden of her womb; then chuckled
at the donkey’s bray and cockerel’s fanfare,
the chuntering of chickens, two butterflies that
fluttered by and the ant that tickled his toes.
Alwyn is the Managing Editor of Oversteps books, a Research Fellow in the School of English and Languages at the University of Surrey and the author or editor of 8 books.