Delivering baby Jesus
A wet December has walked itself
into the school hall,
darkening the herring bone floor.
The grey plastic chairs
have been scraped into place
and the chatter has died down to coughing.
Handcams are sat on laps
waiting to focus on the wrong child,
long enough to get a laugh on playback.
The Head Master
has welcomed us with his guitar
and stole his 5 minutes of shame
before he thanked us
and handed us over
to the music teacher, Mrs Jones.
She narrates the long journey to Bethlehem
and they open with Mary and Joseph
without a donkey, singing Little Donkey.
They arrive at the inn that is full
and ask if there is any room to spare?
The dusty old hall fades around the edges,
lights seem to shine brighter, the cast
suddenly has a Westend quality to it.
Then there he is, in his hand sown,
Inn keeper’s brown tunic, with a cushion
to make him look portly.
The Handcam rises instinctively
as you mouth every practiced word,
and you know he’ll never forget
that moment, just before he walked on
or the smeared smell of stage makeup.