The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Lolita's Bethlehem

Words: Katherine Lee Bates

See: Poems of Christmas by Katherine Lee Bates

Source: Katherine Lee Bates, Fairy Gold (New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1916)

Seven shining sunsets
    Lead to Holy Night,
And Lolita's Bethlehem
    Grows with her delight.
Lola, Lolita,
    Little Spanish lass!
Blithly for Lolita
    The seven sunsets pass.

Under Moorish arches
    Trips a timid tread.
First we give the Holy Child
    With the haloed head,
And demure Lolita
    Makes her small salaam,
Cherishing the Baby
    In a roseleaf palm.

Blue and gold the sunset
    On our second eve;
A Madonna blue and gold
    Lifted hands receive;
And Lolita scampers,
    With a shout of joy,
To carry Mary Mother
    "To her little boy."

Frolic of light footsteps
    Dancing to the door;
Who is waiting on a staff,
    Figure bowed and hoar?
Merrily Lolita,
    Black eyes mischievous,
Kisses old Saint Joseph
    Before she kisses us.

It is not Lolita,
    Sweetheart, who will scorn
For her Holy Family
    Cow with crumpled horn.
Lola, Lolita,
    Hugs it close and vows
That it is her darling,
    The caramel of cows.

Seven shining sunsets,
    One by one they pass.
From a pearly twilight comes
    Humble Brother Ass.
Lovingly Lolita
    Teaches him his part:
"Kneel beside St. Joseph,
    Donkey of my heart."

Next a china shepherd
    With two curly sheep,
But Lolita hushes them
    Ere she lets them peep
At the Christ-Child, shedding
    Tenderness and awe,
Where He slumbers softly
    On a wisp of straw.

Last of seven sunsets!
    Hardly can we wait
For Christmas Eve to enter in
    By that gleaming gate;
While Lolita's angel,
    Balanced on a star,
Acrobat with lilac wings,
    Plays a pink guitar.

Blissfully Lolita,
    Careful not to hurt,
Gathers all the images
    In her little skirt.
Lola! Lolita!
    To bed she carries them,
For to-night all childhood
    Sleeps in Bethlehem.

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