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The Innkeeper’s Wife

In the poem, the Innkeeper's Wife, Clive Samson recalls the winter night of the nativity.

A nativity scene.

Photo: cwalker71 (Flickr)

The poem, the Innkeeper's Wife, recalls the winter night of the nativity.

Now that it is too cold here in Indiana to work in my flower garden, I am doing more reading. I enjoyed reading a poem by Clive Sansom that is appropriate to this season. It is entitled the Innkeeper’s Wife. In the poem, she recalls the winter night of the nativity.

Innkeeper’s Wife

It was a night in winter
Our house was full, tight packed as salted herrings
So full, they said, we had to hold our breaths
To close the door and shut the night air out!
And then two travelers came. They stood outside
Across the threshold, half in the ring of light
And half beyond it. I would have let them in
Despite the crowding – the woman was past her time-
But I’d no mind to argue with my husband,
The flagon in my hand and half the inn
Still clamoring for wine. But when trade slackened,
And all our guests had sung themselves to bed
Or told the floor their troubles, I came out here
Where he had lodged them. The man was standing
As you are now, his hand smoothing that board
He was a carpenter, I heard them say,
She rested on the straw, and on her arm
A child was lying. None of your creased faced brats
Squalling their lungs out. Just lying there
As calm as a new dropped calf. His eyes wide open,
And gazing around as if the world he saw
In the chaff- strewn light of the stable lantern
Was something beautiful and new and strange….
And why I should recall
A scene like that, when times I would remember
Have passed beyond reliving, I cannot think.

Photo by Scott Schram

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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