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All Heaven Safe

Nativity, Simon Bening (1483-1561)

The Christmas Moon

The Christmas moon shines clear and right;
There were poor travellers such a night
Had neither fire nor candle-light.

One plucked them stars out of the sky
To show the road to travel by;
So that the Ass go warily.

She had all Heaven safe in her hold,
Hidden within her mantle's fold--
All Heaven, and It was one hour old.

Her hair under, over Him spread
His spun-gold coverlet and His bed,
Twined with His little golden head.

She sang and rocked Him to-and-fro
Such songs as little babies know,
With Lullaby Sweet, and Lullalo.

He had no need of moons and suns,
Nor the gold-crested bird-legions,
Singing their lauds and orisons.

The Christmas moon shows a cold beam;
He hath His Mother, she hath Him:
Together they sleep, together dream.

--Katharine Tynan (1861-1931)

Reader Comments (2)

What a gem that painting is!

December 23, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi Ashworth

I love the mother-and-child intimacy of that poem.

December 24, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercharrette

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