A Time to Pray (A seasonal poem)
Near the border, beyond the searchlights’ reach,
A child is born. No one is rejoicing.
Not his mother, too cold and scared to weep
The broken tears of happiness. Elsewhere,
The father fights to the front of the queue
For bread or rice. A truncheon lays him out.
Darkness: the boy is warmed, in straw, by beasts;
Cries echo mute and bellies run empty.
Then, as if from nowhere, a lantern shines;
The humble prophecy reveals its wares
And hearts, uplifted by its modest way,
Pray. Even if no one responds, we pray.