The Innkeeper's Lament
They told me afterward there was a light
That shone night long above my khan's low roof,
Centering above the stable, radiant, white;
They tell me now it was a heavenly proof
That the Christ whom we had waited for so long
Was there . . . that I had turned Him from my door.
They say above the fields there was a song
Such as mankind had never heard before.
How could I know - how could I hear or see
Other than the clamor of the crowd,
The bleating sheep, the bartering cries, the queer
And sharp demands upon me that were loud?
If they had only told me! If they had,
I would have turned the other guests away.
I believe that everyone would have been glad
For the stable's shelter and and a bed of hay
To give the Christ Child room . . . Oh, surely I
Shall not be known forever as the one
Who shut his ears to a woman's needy cry,
Who closed his door upon God's holy Son.
Grace Noll Crowell
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