His first visitors sweat from toil,
carry the oily damp of sheep and goats.
Woodpile of trimmed cedar oozing resin
reminds Joseph of his Nazareth workshop.
Sweet scent of lamb stew drifts from the inn.
Ox and donkey lie heavy on hay
their foggy breath musky and warm.
Lamp-smoke from tallow and oil disperses
high in the rafters among cooing pigeons.
Kings bear ointments and incense;
their perfumed robes waft the rich
scent of spices in eastern bazaars.
Jesus swaddled; child at the breast
content. Mary dozes. Mellow
aura of nursing mother and baby,
God incarnate in the fragrant crib.