A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Back Blocks Nativity

They were set for home, but the horse went lame

Roadman’s Shack 1904 Central North Is NZ

Roadman’s Shack 1904 Central North Is NZ

And the rain came belting out of the sky

Joe saw the hut and he went to look

And he said, “She’s old, but she’ll keep you dry”


So her kid was born in that roadman’s shack

By the light of a lamp that’d hardly burn

She wrapped him up in her hubby’s coat

And put him down on a bed of fern


Then they  came riding out of the night

And this is the thing that she’ll always swear

As they took off their coats and came into the light

They knew they were going to find her there


Three old jokers in oilskin coats

Stood by the bunk in that leaking shack

One had a beard like a billygoat’s

One was frail, and one was black


She sat on the foot of the fernstalk bed

And she watched, but she didn’t understand

When they put those bundles at the baby’s head

And this river nugget into his hand.


Then they went, while she watched through the open door

Weary as men who had ridden too far

And the rain eased off and the low cloud broke

And through a gap shone a single star


Peter Cape  (1926 -1979)

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