scene is familiar. A baby is sleeping.
place doesn’t matter, except it’s not cosy
the carol constructed so neatly—
Forget the Sundayschool singing so sweetly
baby is crying. The baby is human
cries for the mother whose heart will be broken.
cries for food in a land ploughed by famine.
cries for the rich, who on hearing him crying
He cries for the camps full of refugees dying—
cries for all pharisees, each of them giving
the reasons why sadly they have to refuse.
our patience wears thin as a sliver of glass
as we fear that this crying will never die down:
it slithers through time as a snake slips through grass—
he would cry us an ocean in which we would drown
except it subsides. The baby is quiet.
Stillness returns to the Judaean night.
Whatever is coming he will not defy it
for he came after all to put everything right.
cries for the strength that he needs to prepare him
to learn obedience in thirty long years.
crying at night is his effort to waken
for the carol service at
*For a carol service for Iraq in 2013 the last line of verse 7 was changed by the user to "his tears are the Tigris, Euphrates and Nile". For an event in 2022 another user changed it to "his tears are the Dnipro, the Channel, the Nile" in recognition of the atrocities taking place in Ukraine and the trafficking of refugees to England from France.
The poem was revised in 2017.
Typical performance time: 2 minutes 15 seconds.
Rust 1996, firstname.lastname@example.org. See here