When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream.“Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
“A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.“
We think of him as safe beneath the steeple,
Or cosy in a crib beside the font,
But he is with a million displaced people
On the long road of weariness and want.
For even as we sing our final carol
His family is up and on that road,
Fleeing the wrath of someone else’s quarrel,
Glancing behind and shouldering their load.
Whilst Herod rages still from his dark tower
Christ clings to Mary, fingers tightly curled,
The lambs are slaughtered by the men of power,
And death squads spread their curse across the world.
But every Herod dies, and comes alone
To stand before the Lamb upon the throne.
Imagine my joy to find my recent love of poetry, and especially the sonnet form (a love I share with #1 Son who is not a fan of “free-verse cheaters”) met in a glorious mash-up with the recent scaffolding of my faith via Anglicanism, by the work of a contemporary poet, and Anglican, Malcolm Guite. It occurred to me that the delight seemed analogous to the pleasurable pairing of a rich complex cabernet with Mr. Garner’s hearty beef stew which was our post-Christmas Eve Service fare. Since poetry is food for the mind, and worship of Our Lord and Savior is our only sustaining and most satisfying food for the spirit, I think the comparison holds together nicely.
#1 Son bestowed upon me two books by Malcolm Guite for Christmas this year! First, his anthology, Waiting on the Word: A Poem a Day for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, a lovely collection of works by poets past and present and which also includes a thoughtful essay or discussion of the poem often connecting it to other works of literature. The homeschool mom in me has already made notes to include a few of these in The Daughter’s 2016 Christmas Term. The second, is a book of Guite’s original poetry, Sounding the Seasons: Seventy Sonnets for the Christian Year. I’m looking forward to savoring these sonnets slowly, at the time appointed.
I much prefer to read almost anything book-in-hand, to make a note, underline a phrase, for pondering in a reading spots sans electronics. However, if you are not similarly bound, Mr. Guite’s WordPress site offers some of the same poems that are published in his book. I encourage you to click over and partake. He also has clips of his poetry in his voice. Click here to link and listen to Refugee.
Call it Christmas in July. I found this in the Draft Folder from January so I’m backdating the post, as is my practice, to the period that it covers. I can’t help but note though, the overlapping of past and present that this sonnet reveals; from refugees in the Middle East to the recent Supreme Court decision Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.