I sing the beast, the patient back, the plodding hooves, the uncomplaining pace, one foot upon another like all our banal moments anonymous until spring equinox, the hour to sing, to celebrate, to bray the shrinking dark, the lengthening of light. And does he understand? I sing the ass, lowly, upbraided for his dullness, so drab yet he will teach, he knows his master's crib. Beneath his human burden ambling he bears so duly his load in safety forward - their triple shadows passing from one tree to another - he bids the angels weep. And does he understand? Step by step by step dusk overtakes a journey. Let there be rest by night beneath the sheltering palm. Let the abundant branch bend down to yield its fruit. Deep in the welcome wellsprings then let this family find - low beast beside them leaning - a star firing the water. And does he understand?