October 1 Thomas Hardy: The Oxen

Just to be annoying, I’m posting a Christmas poem a few early (just in time for Halloween). It’s actually the next poem in the textbook, but if we’re going to talk about myths, why not the most pervasive one: the birth of Jesus.

Heck, I even have Jewish friends who celebrate Christmas. It’s a little commercialized over here (if you work in retail, Christmas starts in August – ug!), but you can’t miss anywhere you go. The month of December is all red and green and Santa. Sometimes it feels a little pervasive. And it has it’s own strange mythologies that seem to be added to as the years go on (I never knew that Frosty the Snowman attended the Nativity – who knew that there was snow in the Middle East!). But this particular myth is a new one for me. It’s the belief that on Christmas Eve beasts are able to speak (it doesn’t just happen in Disney movies). I think I have a few more parentheticals in me (but I’ll stop here).

The Oxen

by Thomas Hardy

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
“Now they are all on their knees,”
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Not did it occur to one of there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
“Come; see the oxen kneel

“In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,”
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so.

About penneloppe

I like to write horror, dark fantasy and crime fiction. Sometimes, I'll write science fiction, but usually I like to write science fact. I also write screenplays and stage plays. My day job is office work. I live in Seattle and I have a cat.
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