The sceptical shepherd
No, you go down and see what’s what
I’ll stay and watch the flock.
They need some pastoral concern,
they’ve had a nasty shock.
Off they go, feet before brain,
just like a herd of sheep.
Fools rush in where angels fear
to tread in something deep.
Don’t they see that it’s fake news,
this bulletin tonight?
Why should God suddenly whip up
so much angel delight?
A baby lying in a manger,
destined to be king?
I’ve seen what happens to Messiahs:
it’s not encouraging.
Peace on earth? Goodwill to men?
Just one more trick to knife us.
Why don’t they sing that serenade
to Pilate and to Caiaphas?
They need some scapegoat, patently,
to make the right impression,
so they’ve set up some poor innocent
to teach us all a lesson.
No, don’t disturb the status quo,
that’s not prudent behaviour.
There’s priests and Romans everywhere:
none of them wants a Saviour.
I don’t believe this “heavenly host”,
the story’s just a scam.
They’ll string him up like mutton
and butcher him like lamb.
Written for the carol service at St John’s, West Ealing in 2017. Performed there by Richard Lewis.
The first verse is spoken to the other shepherds "off stage" as they disappear towards Bethlehem. After a brief pause the rest of the piece is soliloquy.
© Godfrey Rust 2017, email@example.com. See here for permissions.