Better wombs were barren
than to bear what birth has brought:
broken bodies, lying
by a gutted window, crying:
'By our blood your life is bought.'

Costly comes your freedom
from the terror fear has wrought!
Children, killed while playing,
now the price in flesh are paying. 
By their blood your life is bought.

What, when you were well off,
made you look back on our lot?
Why are you returning
to endure the cross's burning?
By your blood our life is bought.

--- Mahlon H. Smith


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* Author's note: This reflection on Matthew 2:13-21
was first published as a Christmas card
  (December 1963).
The melody ("Selma") was composed in summer 1965.

Poem & author's sketch ("Rachel's child")
were prompted by the bombing
of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama
on Youth Sunday (September 16) 1963.
This act of terror left 4 girls dead but gained
support for Martin Luther King & the Civil Rights movement.

Collected Poems
Mahlon H Smith

copyright 2005
all rights reserved