For ages, we’ve tamed the Christmas story and made it nice for the kids–time to face reality. Recite this out loud:
She said God made her pregnant!
What was in her head?
Was that what, what she said meant?
There were less idiotic ways to explain her
Being in the family way—it’s a no-brainer.
Well, was that like, BONKERS or what?
Or so disgusting in her day as to get her shot.
Except that guns, they’d not then got;
No, then she could’ve got stoned to death
(And I don’t mean overdosed on crystal meth)
For this crazy combination
Of blasphemy and fornication.
Nobody sane would fake it, make that up,
But, if she was mad, no-one’s ever raked that up.
You might think, hang on!—Honour killing,
‘Cept it was the law
So fall-guy Joe was willing
To sweep it under the—mud floor,
Let her drift off-stage after the divorce
(On the quiet, hush hush, of course,)
Until he’s put on-message, it would seem
By—what else?—an angel, in a dream!
Hadn’t been any a’ them for about five hundred years,
Up until this story, where they’re stackin’ ‘em in tiers.
Then Joe and near-term teen have to struggle eighty miles.
Forced head-count. (To bleed them, they need them on their files).
We’ve given her the donkey-riding, blue dress, haloed look.
Forget it; none of them are in the book.
“The Hotel staff were wonderful”—not. They said “Shove off.”
So, in some cattle shed, the smell, the crap, a cattle cough:
The One, The Always, Lord of Time,
Beginning’s Owner, Name unsayable
Beyond, “He is”,
His, creation’s game, unplayable
By any other,
Sprayer of a million, billion, billion stars
Never losing count of countless worlds,
Exhaling star-birthing clouds,
A trillion Everests high;
Gets squeezed down through the tunnel of his mother’s agony
And gets expelled, a wrinkled scrap of human progeny.
Then, tightly bound in strips of cloth,
Gets bunged into a feeding trough.
How silently, how silently the wondrous gift…COME ON!
Show me any labour ward that is cathedral-calm.
Who did The Universe’s Lord, Rescuer of our World
Choose to hear the news? “He’s here,” made meat, The Word.
Celebs? Upright? In-crowd? At least some solid folk?
His pick was just annoying, a slap-in-the-face. A joke?
Shepherds—scum! One-up from lepers, living dead.
(A loaf, refused by shepherds was officially not bread).
Then some guys—rich but travellers, untouchables, unsound,
Dabblers in the horoscope, dodgy ways, foreign land.
Oh, and the two wrinklies, today could be in-care—
End of life, past it, bless! (Lot of time, “in prayer”).
So what’s the take? I ask myself, what’s that all about?
Last first? First last? Everything inside out?
Born to be…born to show our sickness, to be killed, the cost of cure.
He was the pill, so bitter-sweet, so pure
As we could only vomit out, so he
Straightway’s a member of a refugee family,
Angel-led, on the run from a puppet king from hell
Who slaughtered toddlers for power—we know such things so well.
‘Cause, hey what’s new, it’s just a few and rather little boys that died.
Nowadays, to us, a mere mini genocide.
Born to be king, he got his crown–made out of thorns.
Eventually we brought him down in blood and phlegm and scorn.
Regarding mission Earth, he nailed it, but got nailed
To a piece of wood, that is, but when all thought he’d failed
There’s this stubborn, awkward evidence, wormed into my head
That this story ends, I’m serious, with him, back from the dead
But we trivialize and gluttonize and sentimentalize it,
Avoid, deny, commercialize and trite-nativitize it.
If the baby is The King, we insult him with this goo.
They couldn’t make this story up. I should face it—could be true.
So, despite my fears, the danger, yes perhaps,
Do I give him, my life’s crown?
Or do I keep him in the manger, under wraps,
Tinsel him out of town?