Oh Bloody Town of Bethlehem: A Graveyard Lullaby for the Holy Innocents

O bloody town of Bethlehem,
How shrill we hear thee cry.
Your mothers shriek while fathers weep
The graveyard lullaby.
For butchers clad as soldiers
At Herod’s mad behest
Aborted weal with blades of steel
They thrust in tender chests.

O Bethlehem, thou House of Tears,
What balm can heal thy woe?
When darkness looms, can flowers bloom,
From seeds of grief you sow?
Dear Heaven, share thy secret:
These sons died not in vain.
Young martyrs bold, in death foretold,
A Death that Life would gain.

Ye martyred boys of Bethlehem,
From ‘neath the altar, pray
To Christ your Lord, whom Herod’s sword
Slew not that awful day.
Rachel, Rachel, weep no more,
Your sons shall dry your tears.
For flowers bloom where darkness loomed,
Since Christ our Light appears.



If you enjoy my writings, please consider purchasing my newly published book, The Infant Priest:  Hymns and Poems.  This poetry gives voice to the InfantPriestfrontcovertriumphs and tragedies of life in a broken world.  Whether you weep, rejoice, struggle, or hope, through these hymns and poems you can speak to God with honesty and fidelity.  By buying a copy, you will also aid mission work, for 25% of the proceeds from book sales go to benefit Lutherans in Africa.  Click here to purchase your copy.  Thanks!


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5 thoughts on “Oh Bloody Town of Bethlehem: A Graveyard Lullaby for the Holy Innocents

  1. Jeremy Loesch on said:

    Permission to share with my congregation with attribution?

  2. Very nice. Small note: Your in line 3 should probably be “thy” if singular and going with the “thee” in the previous line. And “Rachel, Rachel, weep no more” could be rearranged to match the meter: “O Rachel, cease thy weeping” or “Oh, weep no longer, Rachel” or something; or is this an intentional interruption?

  3. I never thought of the babies that were killed in Bethlehem as martyrs but they are. Thanks for this beautiful poem.

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