The genesis of this sonnet is Hutchmoot. Randall Goodgame was playing his rendition of “For Unto Us a Child is Born.” The words are, of course, very familiar because of Handel, but the music stems more from A Charlie Brown Christmas than The Messiah.
And in listening to it, something struck me. Maybe it’s the different melody; maybe it was the way Randall held the word “us.”
For unto us a child is born.
And I thought of all the stories of barren women in the Bible, of youths who were captured and castrated as prisoners of war. Of the eunuch, reading the book of Isaiah in Acts 8. Of all the babies Pharoah ordered killed in Exodus; of the babies Herod ordered killed in Matthew 2. And of my own friends who have experienced miscarriages or the death of their children.
For unto us, the promised son is born.
That said, this is a dark poem. In the future I may rewrite it, and make it happier, but for now I couldn’t sanitize it.
The Promise Kept
Written November 6, 2017
The earth is broken. In the wilderness
We wander and fall prey to wicked men.
They capture us and make us fatherless
And we, so powerless here to defend
Must watch them take our daughters home for spoil
And find new ways to make us reel in shock
And break our backs in neverending toil
And dash our babies’ heads against the rocks.
They castrate us, and leave us wounded, sore,
Dangling at the ends of fraying rope;
And leave only the desolate and poor,
And barren women, left without much hope—
And yet the blackest night has yet a morn:
For unto us, this night, a child is born!