Antependium of St Peter Enthroned by
Guido da Siena, tempera and gold on wood, circa 1280.
Delivering the Son of God
With oxen by, fouled straw, a manger?
The story’s really rather odd.
A mistranslation? Something stranger?
Although to doubt it is the norm
The tale gave artists down the ages
The challenge of the bovine form,
A change from painting saints and sages.
It still stirs no few hearts a bit,
If hackneyed now, or Christmas-cardy,
And also left what most admit,
Are haunting lines by Thomas Hardy.
If you have any thoughts on this poem, Jerome Betts would
be pleased to hear them.
Thomas Hardy's poem can be found here: