This poem is the heart of the sequence, and I think it’s my favourite. This is the upside-down mystery of Christmas which is good news for all of us in tight spaces.
Ten tiny toes, wrinkled and new,
beautiful good news bringers
bouncing on the knees of Mary
as if she were a mountain
and he were a gazelle,
as if she were a snake
and his smooth heel a dragon slayer,
as if she were a river
for him to dance in.
Ten tiny toes, unable to bear the weight,
yet, of what will come,
each step ordered for joy toward
their tearful anointing.
Ten tiny toes, ruddy flesh and unfused bone,
that used to rest large on the footstool of the earth,
now made small,
small enough to kiss,
small enough to be wrapped in our scraps,
and held in aching arms.
Somehow the light shines even from his feet,
for God is love,
right down to his ten tiny toes.
From Small: An Advent Poetry Sequence
Composed for the caregivers of The Good Samaritan Society (www.gss.org)
Illustration by Elizabeth Evans