The rich had taken the best rooms
in the inns, and the private homes too.
The moderately well-off took the rest.
The poor camped where they could,
gathered around fires, swapped yarns,
got counted, and made their plans
to head home. Bethlehem
had taken on the appearance
of a refugee camp;
the city fathers were not impressed.
Joseph and Mary had been among
the campers by the creek,
until the contractions
of the impending birth drove them
to seek a more substantial shelter.
In a stable the animals seemed to enjoy
a tolerable standard of accommodation;
they decided to join them.
There the child would be born
and God made welcome.