Far From Home

1 Sep 2023 | Mission | 0 comments

All day long we’ve walked,

my little boy so fretful,

turning in my arms to stare behind us,

back along that dusty road.


It’s as if he hears a distant sound,

he’s listening, it seems,

but much too young to know

the dreadful things we’ve heard.


Now it’s dark and, near the fire,

we women sit, children cradled on our knees,

wrapped against the cold.

But my child is wriggling, squirming to be free.


I rise and carry him beyond the light.

The desert night is freezing,

I draw my shawl across his head.

With small impatient fists he pushes it away

and turns his face up to the stars.


He is gazing, gazing…

and I watch –

see light reflected in his eyes.

When he turns back to look at me,

it is from somewhere far away.


Jo Macdonald (1950- ), Southwell,  Flight into Egypt

Notes from the Compiler

'Out of Egypt I have called my son.' (Matthew 2:15). Jo Macdonald, Southwell, writes: 'Joseph was warned in a dream to take the Holy Family to Egypt to escape Herod’s wicked order to slaughter all boys of two years and under in and around Bethlehem. This poem is written from Mary’s point of view as she cares for Jesus. It imagines that he has been restless and Mary wonders what he might have heard. She tries to settle him but he pushes away from her, looking up to the stars as if seeking to understand. He is far away from her then and what he saw, Mary will never know, any more than we understand the acts of barbarity that drives refugees from their homes. We only know that we must give them shelter.'


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