Advent to Candlemas (Vol. 1)

First Noel Exclusive!

1. A labourer and his pregnant girl arrived
In Bethlehem and looked round for a bed
But when the barman saw she had no ring
He took their cash and pushed them in a shed:
"You know the rules; no get-out clause allowed
For labour pains or holy virgin births,
The occupying powers are very harsh.
Come on, you know it's more than my job's worth."

2. A rumour of the curious travellers' tale
Spread, like all welcome gossip, through the town
And farmhands bored with minding landlords' sheep
Were glad of an excuse to hang around:
"Besides", they said: "We've felt it in our bones;
There's something up; this isn't what it seems.
All of us sleep like logs on the night shift
But we've been messed about by funny dreams."

3. But they were decent men who all mucked in,
Collected blankets, gave the barman hell,
As usual, called the midwife far too late
But eagerly fetched water from the well.
"We won't take anything for what we've done;
You may be right, your son may be a King;
But working people lose when times get rough
And Herod's rough by any reckoning."

4. A Commission of Enquiry came along
Said to be clean but in the Emperor's pay:
A senator, a tycoon and a judge
To write a long report to file away.
They liked the human angle as a sop,
Inviting all the media to come in,
Posed with the "Baby Jesus" and as gifts
Left glosses, caveats, IOUs and spin.

5. And when this cast was finally called to rest
The farmhands laughed at everyone's expense
Watching the barman and the great and good
Grumbling about the rules of evidence;
And Peter liked a quiet gatehouse lodge
But when his Master came to stop the din,
The farmhands stared in wonder when he asked
The barman and the bigwigs to go in.