Christmas week had arrived only to find Tess back home in the country with family. City life was not working out and current boyfriend chose to spend Christmas drinking with friends in the city over sharing time with her. Dispirited, Tess cuddled into her favourite corner of the familiar couch reading. One sentence caught her attention:
“On Christmas Eve at midnight all animals can speak to each other and to God.”
With hidden excitement she waited for the family to go to bed. Luckily they all went before 12.00 midnight. Walking by the light of the stars she located the cow shed. Shuffling inside saw eight cows, three calves, and a pig. On this Christmas Eve night two farm dogs used spare straw for bedding. Cows, dog, pigs received extra warm bedding for Christmas on this farm.
Wrapping a blanket about her shoulders she settled on a bale of straw waiting, anticipating a midnight animal conversation.
Her ears sensed cows chewing the cud and belching, some moans, shuffling. Calves innards churned and groaned. Both dogs snorted deciding not to tease the passing cat, who next jumped on a dog feeding bowl which resounded like cymbals. Pig grunting sounded as a base drum. Cows yawned sighing a whisper of a carol. Tess was warm in her blanket, listening. Recognising a tempo change, a chorus of sounds transformed into a peaceful cloud of magical music. She was immersed in this animal orchestra. Through a tiny opening in the corrugated roof, where a rusty nail had left a hole, a shining star sent a beam of light onto the central straw. God’s answer to the created chorus. She dared peek at her watch, it was midnight.
Forget presents, forget riches. Tess was living her richest Christmas ever. With joy in her heart she felt divinely inspired towards a newer respect for all God’s creatures. A respect she might even share with her boyfriend — but only after some deep meaningful conversation.
Gerardine White - (also called Ger) grew up in wild open country of West Limerick, Ireland. Her country life is represented in her poems and has a strong bearing on her core values and education. She inherited the skill of poetic rhyme from both of her parents and her Grandad. This past year she was published in four Anthologies from Clarendon House Publications. Some of her poems will already have appeared in Ballyguiltenane Rural Journal over time. She had the pleasure of spending an evening with Seamus Heaney in Dublin in 2011. It was later very humbling to read a testimonial of her work: “Your poetry reminds me of Seamus Heaney” (Grant Hudson - Clarendon House Publications) "Poems by Ger have the ability to lift the soul and bring it to a place of peace and calm" (Peg Prendeville, Poet. - The Purple Pencil)