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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Innocent's Song

Learning that the Magi had deceived him, that they would not be reporting back to him where they had found the babe they believed was destined to become the “King of the Jews,” Herod the Great ordered the death of all boys under two years of age in Bethlehem.

(Flight into Egypt by Jean-François Millet, 1814-1875,
French painter)

“Behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, ‘Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and remain there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.’ So he arose and took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt; and remained there until the death of Herod.” ~ Matthew. 2:13-15

(Massacre of the Innocents by Pieter Bruegel the Younger,
1564-1638, landscape painter from the Netherlands, son of
Bruegel the Elder)

“Herod, seeing that he had been tricked by the Magi, was exceedingly angry; and he sent and slew all the boys in Bethlehem and all its neighborhood who were two years old and under, according to the time that he had carefully ascertained from the Magi. Then was fulfilled what was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet: A voice was heard in Rama, weeping and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be comforted, because they are no more.” ~ Matthew 2: 16-18


Who’s that knocking on the window,
Who’s that standing at the door,
What are all those presents
Lying on the kitchen floor?

Who is the smiling stranger
With hair as white as gin,
What is he doing with the children
And who could have let him in?

Why has he rubies on his fingers,
A cold, cold crown on his head,
Why, when he caws his carol,
Does the salty snow run red?

Why does he ferry my fireside
As a spider on a thread,
His fingers made of fuses
And his tongue of gingerbread?

Why does the world before him
Melt in a million suns,
Why do his yellow, yearning eyes
Burn like saffron buns?

Watch where he comes walking
Out of the Christmas flame,
Dancing, double talking:

Herod is his name.

~ Charles Causley (1917-2003), English poet and writer

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