This isn’t really a poem, but the edited transcript of a flurry of emails regarding a Christmas pageant I wrote several years ago.

Looking at the poem, figure out how to wrap music around it,
or weave music through it
(or does that intrude on the unity and rhythm of the poem).
I do mean between the poems,
wondering if that would disturb the rhythm.

You have the chart.
Tracey is pregnant.
If someone can hold Baxter.
I just remembered that Carl is quite an actor.
I’ll see if he’s around
and maybe he’d be a good Joseph or sheep.

Here’s what we need:
Joseph: I’ve sent an e-mail to Ted and to Jay
Mary:  I’ve sent an e-mail to Tracey
Oxen:  You will ask Bruce and Scott at choir? (you need one more)
Shepherds:  You will ask Kerry at choir?
Sheep:   If we have John and Jordan we might get Angus and Meg.
Otherwise, we need 2 more sheep.
Magi:  You will ask Dick at choir?
Does Ann seem right for any of the animals?
I will call Bethany about neck decorations–she might be at choir.

Joseph (a walking stick)
Mary (a scarf)
Oxen (brown berber scarves–or raw wool)
Shepherds (canes)
Angel (halo)
Sheep (white berber scarves)
Magi (necktie or academic hood)
Innocents (?)
Star (candle?)
I’ve got some unspun brown wool.
I know the source.

Can you work on choreography?
We can use the two banks of lights.
We can use lapel mikes
and the hand held mike and the floor mike.
I think it’s mostly about timing–
when people take their places
and which direction they enter from and leave from.
The side chancel lights are operated from the chancel.
The center chancel lights are operated from the back of the sanctuary.

This is beginning to sound like a Found Poem.  
Maybe I’ll turn it into one, when this is over.  
So–I’ll ask Bruce & Scott if they can be Oxen–
I thought we were getting 2 oxen per service?  
If we have David for the early one, 
then I still need three more–or somebody doing both.  
I’ll ask Dick if he can be a Mage late, 
and Kerry if she’ll be a shepherd at both, 
and Steve which one, 
and I’ll find another choir shepherd.  
Why do I have a feeling that we’ll come to Christmas Eve 
and find that we have hundreds of shepherds, and several dozen Holy Families?!

Good morning and good work!
John and Angus will be sheep at one service, probably the 5:30.
I haven’t heard from Jordan and Meg,
but I am hoping they will be sheep at the 7:30 service.

That leaves one ox at the 7:30 service and a shepherd at each.
I bet Ann would be happy to be a shepherd with Steve
unless one of his boys would like to give it a try.
Who would be a good match with Kerry at 5:30?

Ted will be Joseph at the 7:30 service.
John and Angus will be sheep at 5:30.
I will call Jay & Tracey tonight about Mary & Joseph at 5:30.
I will send an e-mail to Margy about the sheep.
I’ll send out a feeler to Steve about a son being a shepherd–or Priscilla?
And, maybe Ann with Kerry for 5:30?
Then, we’d be all cast.

“John and Angus will be sheep at 5:30” 
sounds like bad spy movie stuff, doesn’t it?  
I will make a poem out of some of these! 
I’ll also wait to hear what Steve says about his family being shepherds.  
If they don’t want to, maybe Ann could do both services. 

Here’s what I picture.
You begin the rehearsal with a reading of the whole Nativity Suite.
Then, we hand each person an order of service and choreograph the Nativity Suite.
They practice moving from their seats to their reading spot,
speaking their part into whatever microphone they will use, and moving back to their seats.  Does that sound about right?
Jay and Tracey said yes to the 5:30 service.
Ann said yes to the shepherd at 5:30.
Margy is checking with Jordan & Meg.
Joanne  is checking with her family.
We’re possibly down to a shepherd and an oxen at 7:30.

Down to a shepherd and an ox, eh?  
Your choreography sounds dandy, too.

Anyone in the choir come to mind?
Maybe Ann would be a shepherd twice.
There must be someone in the choir who could be an ox!

If Ann’s willing, I bet she’d be a shepherd twice.  
I’ve used up all the guys in choir for Oxen or something already.    

Doug will be an ox in the 7:30 service.
We are down to confirmation from Jordan & Meg as sheep for 7:30. Whew!
I will send out an e-mail to all participants for the run through on Saturday.
Let’s hope most can attend.
Could you be sure that everyone has a copy of their poem?
Just be sure they each know which one they are reading.
And, with the poems for the oxen and sheep and shepherds,
you will have to figure out with them who reads which parts.
Isn’t this exciting?  And a little scary?
They’ll pull it off beautifully!

I’ll get the poems to everyone.  
Exciting & scary, yes. . .

I’ve still not heard from Meg.
I will try her again today.
I think they are in the thick of Nightfires
and have grandparents here for Christmas
which affects which service they will attend.

Hi Meg,
I still don’t know if you and your Dad have definitely agreed to “be” sheep or not, 
but here are the poems.  
If you are doing it, you and your Dad can decide who wants to do which lines.  
Hope to see you at the practice.

I think my dad and I are in as sheep.
We will be there.

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