The vikings stirred on Christmas morn
And with their blood-licked, red claeborn
Wrest the stillness of the day
From peace and all attending spirits’ way.
At Rome they trampled through the streets
The lives of merry men and able Cretes,
They took what pleased their hoarding hands
And raped the rest, with blood demands.
Oh God! That myth and legend leant us truth
And were not storied by the hollied hearth;
That God, the Christ, was born in manger there,
That Christmas was a soft affair!
But now we know the Diocletian flame
That pyre which burned the quiet Christian name
And Nero too, who at his madness did attend
A thousand executions, and all holiness contend!
And have we yet remembered Marcus
Who quiet stayed his sword before us?
Who left us juries of his mind enraged
But could not leave them hushed and caged?
There is a sordid tale for every Christmas cheer
What would abandon joy, and Christmas morning fear.
I heard a martyr endured the axe today
And though it Christmas, gave his joy away.
I heard a thousand thousand years unfold
Wherein destruction reigned and lives were sold
To empty thirst for powered might
And land that lay in conquered sight.
Where lions triumphed in the blood-soaked games,
Where traitors to the God-king hung in shame
Upon the walls of Rome’s fair continent restored
And all the civilized the peace of Christ ignored.
Oh! This is Christmas from the day of Herod’s rule
To the troubled centuries that followed our first yule.
And how may we, as Christ today, convene our celebrations
When all we give, by apathy complicit in our resignation
Is an empty cry of desperate want for betterment
And here within our fire-tided homes, contentment?
Christmas has not once in peace endured
Nor ever in the years that come, will peace be here assured.