Advent Poetry Calendar – Second Sunday of Advent – “God’s Beast”
“God’s Beast” by Madeleine L’Engle is written from the viewpoint of a beast of burden, a donkey. This poem was submitted by Alice Bampton, Communications and Marketing Dept., who loves animals, although she has yet to meet a donkey.
God’s Beast by Madeleine L’Engle
Least important of all animals, I am a beast
of burden. I can carry heavy loads,
and I am more patient than a camel,
gentler of nature, though occasionally stubborn.
I am not considered intelligent,
and my name is used as an insult.
But when I see an angel in my path
I recognize a messenger of God
“Stop!” the angel said to me, and I stopped,
obeying God rather than my master Balaam
who hit me and cursed me and did not see
the angel’s brilliance barring our way.
Later I took the path to Bethlehem
bearing God’s bearer on my weary back,
and stood beside her in the stable, trying to share
her pain and loneliness, and then the joy.
I carried on my back the Lord himself,
riding, triumphant, through Jerusalem,
But the blessings turned to curses,
Hosanna into Crucify him! Crucify him!
Least important of all animals, beast of burden,
my heaviest burden is to turn the curse into a blessing,
to see the angel in my path,
to bear forever the blessing of my Lord.
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