The stars, a rowdy, cheerful crowd,
ran to their places, prompt to the call,
and how they sing! since then,
a nightly choir.
Only the comets − their slow tears −
betray the sorrow underneath that steadfastness,
for haven’t they seen it all?
− what we do down here,
warping the darkness that they love
into sly coverts for our filthiness.
Poor stars. Don’t grudge them their reprieve
each year, when their paragon,
their Star of stars, leader of kings,
sets out once more and triumphs;
finds his place, finding the child,
perfect as every new-born.
Here! the Star declares to each of us,
Surely you see – surely – that you
are a Child Awaited, you
arrived − naked and loved − and you,
gift-bearer of nothing,
can stoop under this lintel,
step clean through the needle’s eye.