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Rubens, Massacre of Innocents 2nd version

I have been reading some great poetry lately so I thought I would begin sharing some of it here. Sometimes I may share a few reflections in response to the particular poem. Today I simply share the poem itself. I read it a couple days ago in commemoration of the massacre of the innocents which was observed on December 28. It’s called Refugee by Malcolm Guite.

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.

[Image credit: the Baroque painting above is Peter Paul Rubens’ second version of The Massacre of the Innocents]