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A Slaughter of Holy Innocents

December 17, 2012

A poem of grief for 
 

Charlotte

Daniel

Olivia

Josephine

Ana

Dylan

Madeleine

Catherine

Chase

Jesse

James

Grace

Emilie

Jack

Noah

Caroline

Jessica

Avielle

Benjamin

Allison

 

 

King Herod was a bad man. And Herod had his henchmen.

Henchmen do the bad deeds powerful men don’t want to actually do themselves.

Herod sent them to kill all the children in Bethlehem, where Jesus had been born.

Herod was afraid of Jesus, even though he was just a child.

A child can be powerful, even threatening, to some grown-ups.

So Herod had them all killed.

 

His henchmen didn’t use guns. There were no guns then.

But they may have used knives, slicing the children in pieces or stabbing them.

Their parents must have had to watch.

I imagine some of them killed themselves afterwards.

But probably most didn’t, especially if they had older children.

They had to keep on living.

 

There is a day in December, right between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

It’s a day called Holy Innocents Day and some church people remember it.

But most people ignore the day. We don't even know the children's names.

We don't even know how many were killed.

Probably fifteen, maybe twenty, like in Newtown.

Bethlehem was a small town. Still, twenty is a lot of children to kill.

 

Herod had his henchmen. Here, in this world, we have guns.

And you are the Holy Innocents slaughtered by them.

 

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I'm a writer, yoga teacher, Lutheran pastor, and music nerd living in New York. I find a feast in daily living - most days, anyway - and write about it here. 

Finalist for the 2017 Chautauqua Prize!
The frank and funny story of a church-geek girl who spent twenty years in the ecclesiastical trenches as a Lutheran pastor, preaching weekly words of hope she wasn’t sure she even believed.