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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Christmas Lights (10/30/08)

TITLE: Still But a Baby
By Sally Hanan
11/05/08


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Outside the hand-built village walls of busy life
sit half-asleep bodies huddled in the darkness--some shepherds--
one cradles a lamb, still but a baby:
a tiny bundle of wooly warmth with eyes that can hardly see,
and with a nose used to the smell of her mother (her guiding light
back then). She used to hear and simply follow

the bleat, she would follow
the sound of the one who nurtured her, her source of life.
Now, without her, not even a glimmer of light
quivers. All she feels is the rough garb of the shepherds
as she nuzzles, stretching a miniature tongue out for a teat she cannot see.
Such a little lamb; such a small baby;

weak and helpless, like any baby
still learning; learning how to follow
and how to hear so she can see.
Sheep lie sleeping when sparks of power jump into life
startling the gentle hearted shepherds
whose heads tilt up at the unexpected glorious light

flooding the skies, the heavens. Such light!
Heaven is poised to proclaim the birth of a baby.
An angel, tall and sturdy, appears before the shepherds
and speaks excitedly of one in Davidís line to follow;
he shares the incredible news of fullness found in the life
of a newborn--a new sign that they, such simple men, will see.

Wrapped with love in a manger, they will see
the child of light.
All around them angels are speaking life
and praising God, proclaiming peace to all men through a baby!
Myriads of heavenly voices harmonize and follow...
then theyíre gone. Excited talk among the shepherds

leads each one to shout suggestions. The shepherds
agree to go down into the village and see what they can see.
Who is hungry? Who will merely follow?
Who will run in desperate abandon toward the chosen light?
Who will stay behind as others race to worship Christ, the baby,
Godís gift of joy and for all people, life?

Shepherds sprint (still dazed and overwhelmed by light
yet passionately focused--they must see the Christ, the swaddled baby)
Ďtil on gnarly knees they choose to follow heavenís gift of life.


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This article has been read 811 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 11/06/08
Woo hoo, this is awesome! I tried a sestina once, and they're HARD. I kept wanting to give mine a meter, and I chose difficult words for my end-worlds. But you've done a GREAT job. I love your enjambment, and the baby lamb imagery in the first third or so (awesome!), and the questions toward the end. It's just lovely all around, and a masterpiece of wordsmanship.
Verna Cole Mitchell 11/06/08
Your beautiful poem is executed perfectly. I loved the comparison of the babes--sheep and human. Masterful writing.
Sharlyn Guthrie11/07/08
Very impressive! More than that, however, your poem is rich in content and meaning. Fabulous!
Beth LaBuff 11/07/08
Kudos for your skill displayed in this wonderful poem. Beautiful message!
Joanne Sher 11/08/08
Wonderful message with excellent use of poetic devices. Enjoyed this.
Celeste Ammirata11/10/08
Wow. This is excellent. Great writing, great message!
Loren T. Lowery11/12/08
Wow, what can i say, but give my homage to a true master of the language and the many, varied and beautiful ways it can communicate.

Loren