Harassed, haunted child of Mary – hymn/poem for Epiphany/Holy Innocents

1	Harassed, haunted child of Mary          
       [Haunted, harassed child of Mary]*
	ran before he learned to crawl,
	filled with horror, those who loved him,
	those who gave to him their all,
	tore him from his bed and birth place,
	blown before the sudden squall.

2	Doubt and danger dogged each footfall,
	normal sounds now raised their fear;
	noises in a cobbled courtyard:
	Herod's minions drawing near?
	Or the waking sounds of morning?
	Nothing now is safe or clear.

3	Out of this endangered childhood,
	rootless, no asylum found,
	grew the strength of God to greatness,
	yet with thorns his brow was crowned:
	clothes divided, scourged, derided,
	suffering without a sound.

4	Dare we beautify the image
	when Christ's heirs still walk this earth,
	when our children, harassed, hounded,
	suffer death before their birth,
	while their parents' haunted hunger
	speaks of their discarded worth?

Andrew E Pratt (born 1948) 
*Alternative first line suggested by Alan Gasser via Facebook to enable the rhythm to be better caught. Thanks Andrew. 
Words © 2000 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England copyright@stainer.co.uk . Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.
Metre: 8 7 8 7 8 7 Trochaic
Tune: PICARDY





Three men by a manger – Epiphany

Three men by a manger, the camels are spitting;
the inn keeper proffers a flagon of ale.
The strangers are weary, the passage was dreary,
this ship of the desert, has furled up its sail.

The stars had moved slowly, they’d hoped to be early,
our Christmas had placed them right there at the birth,
but Herod had waited, his anger not sated,
two years rambled slowly till wrath seared the earth.

It all seems a muddle, and yet we will huddle,
repeating the story from long, long ago;
what matters the timing when love sets bells chiming,
and just for this season our time can run slow.
Andrew Pratt 22/12/2019
Words © 2019 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England, http://www.stainer.co.uk.
Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.