The Over Critical View Of The School Nativity.


Greeted with a glass

of what seemed cheaply made,

home induced, egg nog

at the door of my daughter’s school

by a woman with dust marks on her hair,

and the strange smell of child nerves

upon her weighted down shoulders,

deeper in debt, demoralised

and now having to greet

parents to whom their child is the star

of this off Broadway, local authority show.


Small talk surrounds the close fitting

chairs, designed for the uncomfortable

advances of an ice cream pot for child sized hands

to fall into the lap of the next chair neighbour

and the suppressed looks

of hate filled vengeance as the party dress

is now covered in dairy, additives

the memory of a forced evening out.


A small cherub face is poked

round the makeshift curtain

at one end of the hall and the voyeur

soon picks his nose, looks at the creation

and then gently wipes it on the tea towel

covering his head.


A donkey that looks like a design from

a badly thought out Muppet experiment,

three wise persons, one to whom

surely finding the abacus a stretch to use,

and a Joseph who hasn’t quite grasped

that Mary doesn’t love him,

that Mary only became Mary

because the father donated money

to the headmaster’s summer holiday

in Crete the previous year.


In amongst it all, is my little girl,

She has learned her lines, her mother

has fussed with pride over the costume

and told her a thousand times just how proud she is

of her own darling cherub.


The big moment, symbols crash, not in time

and the moment arises, her big moment,

Mary looks on with contempt, Joseph again

picks his nose and the donkey

and one of the shepherds starts

a small domestic fight to which

the teacher with dust in her hair soon

pulls them apart.


Big moment, a star is born,

in the heavens or in the wings

sings a choir and my daughter,

young, radiating artistic passion,

rendering all against fear of performance

and looks at the newly born

doll, all plastic and synthetic tears

and delivers her line with the grace of God.


Baaaa, she goes, turns to the audience, repeats

the line with deadpan comic effect

and shuffles off, baby doll Jesus

serenaded with majesty.


I have never been more proud.


Ian D. Hall 2017