The Wild Child of Bethlehem

A Christmas sonnet


During my 30s and early 40s, I went through a period of spiritual struggle and exile. This poem was written at that time. It looks at Christmas through the lens of Good Friday and my own conflicts.

Though angels carol in his birth, this child

Bestows no peace within My Lady’s heart,

For from his mouth a sword shall dart

To rent her settled order. He is wild,

This child, and will not rest content, beguiled

By rules and law. His way is one apart:

His own self’s way. No charm or mother’s art

Can keep him to the home call reconciled.


This child is every child that would be free.

For this Orestes braved the furies’ sting

And tore asunder the maternal tie.

That’s why, before such horror cowering,

The nation’s elders, priests, and throne agree

The newborn child must bend, be tamed, or die.


© Gordon Lindsey, 1984