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Saturday, December 24, 2011


by Daniel Wilcox

“Look down”…
“Rock the nations as a cradle,”
Spoke the Quaker prophet to Cromwell
“Let thy soldiers go forth…” to kill,

"Look down"...
Another backwards Crusade with
The reversed cross on our hearts,
A swinging, bloody, atoning battle ax
Beheading those with wrong views.

Look “away…”
Not at all like the true cradled manger
Nor the bleeding Rock of Ages
Weeping through history for all
Who “Laid down ‘their sweet heads.’”

Look “away…
In a manager, no crib for a bed
The little Lord Jesus no crying”
Drowns the wailing of many slain.

“Look down”…
When Luther proclaims to the State,
To the German princes during the revolt,
“Therefore, whosoever can, should smite,
Strangle, and stab…and wash our hands
In their blood.”

“Look down”…
You “may more easily win heaven
By shedding of blood than
Others by prayers” not so different
From Taliban now calling on God
For their ‘great’ deeds of slaughter
“To live with thee there.”

“Look down where He lay…
Condemned to repeat, not remember,
‘Blast’ all the dear children” of men
And weep.

Author’s notes: Including lines from Martin Luther’s Christmas hymn “Away in a Manger,” his statements commanding the slaying of the revolting peasants,  George Fox’s statement to Cromwell along with others Reformers who made heads roll, and the famous phrase from George Santayana on history

Daniel Wilcox's wandering lines have appeared in many magazines including The Write Room, Word Riot, and Unlikely Stories. His life is an unlikely story--hiking through Cal State University Long Beach (Creative Writing), Montana, Pennsylvania, Europe, Palestine/Israel...working in a mental institution while living on an island and fording a stream each day, helping on an Indian reservation, and teaching many students literature for years. He now lives with his wife on the central coast of California where he ages but doesn’t petrify.