I love this poem, written around the end of the first world war. It is often brought out at Christmas but I love the atmosphere it creates.The speaker remembers simpler times when faith was not so hard to maintain. As harsh things happen in life he seeks to find again that child like faith, and believe that the oxen could kneel.
Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
“Now they are all on their knees,”
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.
We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.
So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
“Come; see the oxen kneel
“In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,”
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so.