Christmas Tree with Toy Village

by Mary Cornish

Under green limbs, the world
before Copernicus: earth nested
at the center of the Cosmos,
a shepherd asleep in the lap
of a stone. The season’s long debate
of fire and snow goes on
at village windows: the cobbler
argues with his wife;
a grocer fingers his coins.
Outside the gate, an ox-cart
shares the road with camels,
and a tavern-keeper’s spotted dog
trots along behind.
bored with Heaven’s airless nights,
descend from boughs of spruce
to catch a wind that lifts their hair,
billows their gowns. Light,
not from above but from below,
shines on human shoulders, spheres
of fruit, and horses’ silvered hooves —
the Earth itself a great,
immovable star, lit
from within. Sheep stand,
mouths open, listening
to a wave break on the shore.

Last updated November 21, 2022