This week’s poem in the Catholic Poetry Room is by Jeffrey Essmann.

Once Shepherds Had Long Gone

Once shepherds had long gone their way
And angeled skies had settled down,
And random folks from Bethlehem
Had kissed the babe and headed back to town;

Once ox and ass had had some hay
And drifted off to bestial sleep
And winter’s chill had chilled away
The ling’ring pungency of midnight sheep;

Once there were only sky and stars
(And one quite brighter than the rest
That through the night had slowly climbed
And now above the hills began to crest);

Then finally the man and wife
On this strange night divinely odd
And wonderful a moment had
To sit in simple silence with their God.

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, Agape Review, America Magazine, U.S. Catholic, Amethyst Review, 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.

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