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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Christmas Gifts (11/13/08)

TITLE: Creche Creature
By Kenneth Bridge


In the dark deep days of winter
The rumor of sun and warmth fled hither,
Father and Mother proposed an adventure
A ritual enactment of ancient literature
A legend about a baby born to rule
A hoary holiday hash of hope and trees called Yule

Christmas was a time we’re told
When in remembrance of ancient tales
Feasts were given and wares were sold
And shopkeepers’ profits tipped their scales

That dawn of day, mantled in bright white
In light arrayed, a wondrous sight
Nestled among the crimson and gilded wrappers,
Scraps of opened gifts strewn askew
Resurrected from ancient relics, something else was there
Something stirring, its wet nose sniffing the air
Behind the crèche beneath the tree
Gentle liquid eyes were searching me

Tottering out from beneath the tree, unsteady
Trembling, its sides heaving with exerting,
Sleek sides still womb-wet, shaky legs unbending
Joyfully it offered of itself willing and ready
And nuzzled my hand, and crawled into my lap,
And as it pressed its head inserting
It beneath my arm, brought me warmth.
Mother looked puzzled as she studied Father
Father seemed mystified as he looked at Mother

“Thank you, Mother. How do I care for it? What does it eat?”
“Thank your Father, I never before saw the beast,
Just give it love and watch it grow, what it needs, it’ll let you know.”
“Thank you Father, this one gift gives me such pleasure.”
“Thank your Mother, I didn’t provide this treasure.”

“Hope,” I named him, and hope he brought,
While loving him, I often thought
About that ancient story of a child born to rule
And how he grew to manhood, and then, taken for a fool
Was fixed to a cross to suffer loss
And though he taught some things that make some sense
The stories of his rising from the dead offer no defense
Against the settled science by which our lives are now arranged
But the story has a power of its own and cracks appear in the firmament
As I find the emptiness of reason poorly footed is mere predicament

His flanks were sleek, with iridescent sheen
He grew strong by sustenance unseen
His leaps loosened him almost from the prison of gravity
He was all fierce wildness, but no depravity

Others pointed and laughed, and I felt shame
Because I enjoyed this treasure, and because
Under the withering scorn of others I felt their same
Displeasure in my treasure

I watched him shrivel as I kept him hidden
Until his mournful eyes to my surprise
Awakened in me a wild joy and I was bidden
To release him and with him recklessly chase the wind

And then they came, dour and dry, too desiccated
By far, the juice of life squeezed out completely.
These martyring monks, to the enforcement of Reason dedicated
“It has come to our attention, you have an illegal pet,
At very least there is detention, or worse yet
Should there be any hint of ancient superstition
Only death can rescue us all from that condition.”

I stood up straight, I saw too clear
I had no hate, I had no fear
Save that this new life was way too dear
To throw away for fatal lifeless lack of hope
Fearing my fearlessness they took some rope
When they pressed the garrote against my throat
Suddenly my Hope appeared
They fell away, cowed by the apparition
A splendid stallion, a destrier in battle condition
Mighty wings of rainbow hue spread,
Ashen faced they lay as dead
I leapt upon his back, my heels kicking his side
Upward, upward, upon the wings of faith we soared into the sky

And as the wondering crowd turned back
To wander again the safely rutted track
Many a child, and man and woman,
Found following after them,
Crèche creatures with gentle, liquid eyes
With womb-wet, trembling sides,
And clutching them closely under their cloaks
Lifted their eyes from rutted, travelled roads
Loosing their shoulders from unraveled loads
To search the far flung, faith-filled skies
As resurrection life from Christmas hopes arise.

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Member Comments
Member Date
cindy yarger11/23/08
Well done! I've read this twice and plan to come back again. I love the thought it provokes and how the "elusive" truths can be caught. Great job.
Catrina Bradley 11/24/08
I like the format - and the words easily flows from my tongue. The meaning, I'm afraid, is too deep for me to grasp. I'm sure there's an allegory I'm not seeing.
Sharon Kane11/25/08
Beautiful and powerful imagery. I also struggled though to find the message under the metaphors; or maybe there are several possibilities?
Norma-Anne Hough11/25/08
Very interesting and thought provocking. This is a piece one will come back to read again. Very deep.
Loren T. Lowery11/26/08
Hope is born and renews us and gives us strength to ride out any foe and indeed it causes others to cower in its presence. Some great, powerful and profound imagery runs throughout this piece. Good job!