In midnight fields we eating, bleating sheep
(and some asleep) pursued our ovine way
as shepherds rudely passed the time till day
its shining rays above the hills should peep,
when of a sudden in the sky so steep
a thing with wings all shiny silver-grey
so frightened us we nearly ran astray
and lo, our watchers cowered all aheap.
A human babe was born the wing-thing said
and singing wing-things through the night sky swam.
Our shepherds being practicable men,
brought us to see: a manger for a bed
it had and smelled, the ewes said, like a lamb
that’s taken off and never seen again.
Originally appeared in The Road Not Taken.
Jeffrey Essmann is an essayist and poet living in New York. His poetry has appeared in numerous magazines and literary journals, among them America Magazine, Dappled Things, the St. Austin Review, The Road Not Taken, and various venues of the Benedictine monastery with which he is an oblate, with poems upcoming in U.S. Catholic and First Things. He is the editor of the Catholic Poetry Room.