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