Almost Bethlehem

Nizwa, Oman
December 2007

The faint trail of luban
scented the sand-cold night.
Lampposts flickered in Morse code
till dust proved gems
between unhurried steps.

Two exiled nomads
searched for home
past midnight, through a town –
almost Bethlehem.

Meeting, almost meeting
at the lantern’s sacred circle
that humbled crowned pride,
exalted hay-fragrant faith,

where star beacons heralded
with the promise, no, the certainty
of hearts aflame
and angel-streamed Light.

Palm fronds rustle whispers
under a thin crescent moon.
The furrowed falaj stream trickles
giddily around the baked-mud stables
sheltering manure-hoofed goats and donkeys

that have never heard of Bethlehem,
yet twitching, bleating, braying carols
at these two strange pilgrims
passing by.

About Maria Robson

After studies in Applied Linguistics and Education at McGill University, Maria Robson was employed by UN-ICAO at the Civil Aviation College in Doha. While living and working in Australia, Canada, Vietnam, and the Middle East, Maria developed an interest in the literature and mystical traditions across cultures. Currently back in Montreal, she is at work transcribing a trunkful of scribblings into poetry. Her collection of poems from Oman, Laughing Shamal, will appear in December.

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