At Christmas our father took us to his church,
The Catholic, though he only went there then,
When he thought we ought to see the famous crib,
Its painted figures of animals and people.
I felt at home in that foreign place, the scene
Reminded me of Noah’s Ark, my fondest toy,
Where the animals went in two by two, or
Sometimes one by one, I didn’t always count.
A story lay behind it, of how the world was saved,
Animals and people, by a new beginning.
(Which was why there needed to be two of each,
Like at home the two white mice created a world.)
The Nativity at St Peter’s was much the same,
Except for having just one baby, fast asleep.
But by next Christmas there would surely be another,
Then the Ark could come and carry them away.

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