by Jeffrey Essmann
The first was tender, poor and pure, we’re told: The ox so dumb and donkey in their stalls With angels slipping through the very walls Of heaven to proclaim the birth foretold; And even on a night all dank and cold The warmth of glory shepherds quite enthralls And to a tiny sleeping god it calls Them there to see eternal life unfold. But there’s a fearful something ‘bout the next: A blare of trumpets stabbing blackened skies And all the long-dead rising from their graves Announces judgment with the hope annexed That just as fearful is the love that saves And human failing finally justifies.
Jeffrey Essmann is an essayist and poet living in New York. His poetry has appeared in numerous magazines and literary journals, among them Dappled Things, the St. Austin Review, The Society of Classical Poets, Amethyst Review, Agape Review, America Magazine, U.S. Catholic, Heart of Flesh Literary Journal, Edge of Faith, Pensive, and various venues of the Benedictine monastery with which he is an oblate. He is editor of the Catholic Poetry Room page on the Integrated Catholic Life website.