Sometimes as shepherds

Sometimes as shepherds afraid, grimy,
ashamed of our shabbiness
we approach the manger-cross.

Sometimes as kings, haughty, self-assured
confident of our position
we approach the manger-cross.

Sometimes as shepherds.
And we come,
slowly, and still in fear
nothing to offer, nothing of worth,
to this manger-cross holy place:
set aside in time and space for purpose.
Each forward step
a warming, glowing friendship greets us.
Each step closer to tears,
each broken-hearted step
a step closer to the mending heart of God.

Sometimes as kings.
And we come,
purposeful and determined
gold-incense present-carrying
to this manger-cross holy place:
set aside in time and space for purpose.
Each forward step
a disarming, glowing furnace melts our offering.
Each step closer to fear
each fear inducing step
a step closer to the restoring heart of God.

Sometimes as shepherds,
though mostly as kings,
we come to our places of manger-cross:
in church, at home, at the unexpected moment,
to receive
not the Christmas present
but the ever present Christ.

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About Keith Wallis

Keith Wallis Keith Wallis is an English poet. He is a senior part of the leadership team of Houghton Regis Baptist church. An engineering designer by trade he brings a eye for detail as well as faith into his poetry. He is currently ‘poet in residence’ at Ruby e-zine and a moderator at His blog of ekphrastic* poetry is: where you’ll also find links to his books and his other blogs. Married to Val in 1970 he has two sons and three grandsons. The eldest grandson is disabled and cannot communicate verbally. Val is a literacy teacher and occasionally despairs of her husbands rebellious use of punctuation. Though not an ‘academic’ (school was a disaster) he was always fond of writing. He began submitting work for publication in the 1980’s after being encouraged by David R Morgan at that time the local community writer in residence. A number of small press magazines and anthologies took the work (poetry and graphics). Four small booklets were published over the following few years, three published by Stride Publications and one by Sol Publications. Joining in 2005 (and subsequently becoming a moderator) re-energised his writing. Recently work has published by: RootsWorship, EveryDayPoets, PoetryMonthly International, Word Catalyst Magazine, The Cypress Times, Christian Poet's Pen, Perpetual Magazine, Bewildering Stories, FaithFilledFamily magazine and Ruby magazine. Recent books : 'in moments like these': 'a River of Small Stones': 'by still waters' : 'a River of Small Stones ii': *ekphrastic means using one form of art to inform another – Keith uses his own photography as that base on this blog.

4 thoughts on “Sometimes as shepherds

  1. Louis Kasatkin

    From a simple poet’s point-of-view, in addition to the poem’s inherent excellence,what struck me most was the way you used the shepherds/kings dichotomy;the prologue,then alternate verses and then the combination.I’m always keen to see poems with a creative diversity of lay out and construction and the one used here certainly is now on my ” to do” list of experimentation.

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