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His infant hands grip near his mother’s breast,
pulling close her hair to warm his face;
shaking in the coldest darkest night,
a manger’s guest, a star standing on his chest,
hidden in his humble place.
A crown of cloth around his newborn head,
his tiny hands on top of piercing hay,
the cradle’s wood lies hard against his back,
the only bed, as shepherds find the ruined shed
walking down the starlit way.
Lifting up the child from feeding trough
(the sheep draw near to look for food below
his naked feet) the shepherds bow their knees,
swaddling falls off at the sound of a goat’s rude scoff
and –outside– a cock’s third crow.
The angels too announce with singing tongue
with shining starry host under their wings,
that earth is touched by God to change its course,
the war is won, and Satan’s done for Christ is come.
Glory to the newborn king.