While Shepherds Slept
by Chris Pearson


     The hill overlooking Bethlehem was bleak and cold and drear;
above the town wheeled a starry sky, remote and dark and clear.

  But the shepherds who tended their flocks on the hill
didn’t look at the stars; they had all had their fill
of the desert at night, and they just didn’t care
for the wind-blown sand that got everywhere.
So they huddled down with their flocks of sheep
on the cold hard rocks, and they went to sleep.

  Then a sliver of moon joined the stars up above
And ethereal voices proclaimed heaven’s love.
The shepherds heard nothing, not the least little sound;
they slept through the whole thing despite the hard ground.

  When the angels all saw that their song was ignored
and the shepherds were sleeping and some even snored
They sent an archangel to give them a shake -
an event that was sure to shock them wide awake.

  And so it proved too. Not a man could believe
that a stately archangel was telling him “Leave!
There’s a child in a stable you just have to see.
He really is special; you can take that from me.”

  Each shepherd was scared nearly out of his mind
and they turned tail and ran with the angel behind.
He watched as they reached little Bethlehem town,
shouting ‘now take a left, then immediately turn down
the narrow old lane that you’ll see on your right.
When you reach a barn door, destination’s in sight.’

  The shepherds all peered round the old stable door
at a small group of peasants camped out in the straw.
In the manger was a baby, the shepherds crept near
for he was the reason they found themselves here.

  They looked rather sheepish, and one of them muttered
“Angel made us come here.” Another just stuttered
“Wha, I mean, er, 've you chosen the little boy’s name?”
His mum nodded. “Jesus. And he’s glad you came.

  We’re hoping he’ll grow up to be a great man
and become a good shepherd, like you, if he can.



Copyright ©Chris Pearson.  All rights reserved. No part of this text may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, in any form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the author.


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