Archive for the ‘“Edgerton’s Lambs”’ Category

Edgerton’s Lambs

By Barbara Sweeney
Every year he brought them down
to the village square
of our slippered Republican town:
real lambs for a flesh and blood nativity.
In the lifesize stable, a real Mary
was paired with a real Joseph,
who stood shivering
in his burlap robe.
Requisite angels brought forth
their music in the cold Connecticut night,
and Balthasar, Melchior and Gaspar
knelt like snow dome statues
next to a couple of borrowed cows
and Edgerton’s lambs.

It was the beginning of religion for me.
The dumb animals, steam
puffing from their nostrils,
standing bunched and puzzled on a pile of straw.
And Edgerton,
our affable, bow-tied neighbor,
tweaking his wire-rim glasses,
tugging his grey twill pants up high
above his real waist.
Stable, steam, straw, star.
What was real gave shape
to what we wished for.
A perfect baby, a saving god,
real kings.