A Babe in a manger stall,
With the big star flashing across the night,
Did You know and pity us all?
Did the wee hands, close as a rosebud curled,
With the call of their mission ache,
To be out and saving a weary world
For your merciful Father’s sake?
Did You hear the cries of the groping blind,
The woe of the leper’s prayer,
The surging sorrow of all mankind,
As You lay by Your Mother there?
Beyond the shepherds, low bending down,
The long, long road did You see
That led from peaceful Bethlehem town
To the summit of Calvary?
The world grown weary of wasting strife,
Had called for the Christ to rise;
For sin had poisoned the springs of lifeAnd only the dead were wise.
But, wrapped in a dream of scornful pride,
Too high were its eyes to see
A Child, foredoomed to be crucified,
On a peasant Mother’s knee.
But, while the heavens with glad acclaim
Sang out the tale of Your birth,
A mystic echo of comfort came
To the desolate souls of earth.
For the thrill of a slowly turning tide
Was felt in that grey daybreak,
As if God, the Father, had sanctified
All sorrow for One Man’s sake.
O Child of the Promise! Lord of Love!
O Master of all the earth!
While the angels are singing their songs above,
We bring our gifts to Your birth.
Just the blind man’s cry, and the lame man’s pace,
And the leper’s pitiful call;
On these, over infinite fields of space,
Look down, for You know them all.
Joyce Kilmer’s Anthology of Catholic Poets (New York: Liveright, 1939), 17-18.
NOTE: Born in Ireland, Teresa Brayton was an Irish nationalist, writer and poet.