Poets and Prophets
Cristo ya nacio en Palacagüina
Received from Padre Grant Gallup, Casa Ave Maria, Managua. He writes: "The phrase 'Cristo ya nacio en Palacagüina' is the name of a wonderful Christmas carol (and its music) written here in Nicaragua by Carlos Mejia Godoy during the Sandinista revolution. Palacagüina is his own home town, a remote village in the campo. So he declares that Christ has now been born there, too. This remains a popular carol in Nicaragua, though the closing words have been altered. (When I heard this sung recently, the choir had changed 'guerrillero' to 'misionero' -- Jesus would be a missionary when he grew up, not a guerrilla!)"
En el cerro de la iguna On the hill of the iguana montaña adentro de Segovia a mountain in Segovia se vio un resplandor extraño a splendor strange was seen como una aurora de medianoche like daybreak at midnight! los maizales se prendieron cornfields caught fire, los quiebraplatas se estremecieron Even ironwood trees trembled Llovió luz por Moyogalpa Light rained down on Moyogalpa Por Telpaneca, por Chichigalpa On Tepaneca, on Chichigalpa Coro: Chorus: Cristo ya nació en Palacagüina Christ has now been born in Palacagüina de Chepe Pavón y una tal Maria of Joe Pavón and a girl named Maria Ella va a planchar muy humildemente She goes very humbly to iron la ropa que goza the clothes enjoyed by the la mujer hermosa del terrateniente landlord's lovely woman La gente para mirarlo The people come to see se rejuntaron en un molote joining in a great throng y el indio Joaquin le trajo And the indian Joaquin brings quesillo en trenza de Nagarote braided cheeses from Nagarote, en vez de oro, incienso y mirra Instead of gold, incense and myrrh le regalaron, segun yo supe they bring, far as I know, cajetitas de Diriomo candy kisses from Diriomo y hasta buñuelos de Guadalupe and even yucca fritters from Guadalupe José el pobre jornalero Joseph the poor day laborer se mecateya todo el dia lo slaves all day long tiene con reumatismo there with his rhematism, el tequio de la carpenteria webbing seats for chairs, his work of carpentry Maria suena que el hijo Mary dreams that her son igual que el tata sea carpintero Like his papa will be a carpenter Pero el cipotillo piensa But the little rascal thinks: Mañana quiero ser guerrillero! Tomorrow I'll be a guerrilla!
By Mary Elizabeth Coleridge
Mother of God! no lady thou: Common woman of common earth Our Lady ladies call thee now. But Christ was never of gentle birth; A common man of the common earth. For God's ways are not as our ways: The noblest lady in the land Would have given up half her days, Would have cut off her right hand, To bear the child that was God of the land. Never a lady did He choose, Only a maid of low degree, So humble she might not refuse The carpenter of Galilee: A daughter of the people, she. Out she sang the song of her heart. Never a lady had so sung. She knew no letters, had no art; To all mankind, in woman's tongue, Hath Israelitish Mary sung. And still for men to come she sings, Nor shall her singing pass away. 'He hath filled the hungry with good things' -- O listen, lords and ladies gay! -- 'And the rich He hath sent empty away.'
By G. A. Studdert-Kennedy
When Jesus came to Golgatha, They hanged Him on a tree, They drove great nails through hands and feet, And made a Calvary. They crowned Him with a crown of thorns, Red were His wounds and deep, For those were crude and cruel days, And human flesh was cheap. When Jesus came to Birmingham They simply passed Him by, They never hurt a hair of Him, They only let Him die; For men have grown more tender, And they would not give Him pain, They only just passed down the street, And left Him in the rain. Still Jesus cried, 'Forgive them, For they know not what they do! And still it rained the winter rain That drenched Him through and through; The crowd went home and left the streets Without a soul to see, And Jesus crouched against a wall And cried for Calvary.
The Sign of the Son of Man
By Vida Dutton Scudder, quoted in The Cry for Justice, 1915.
Suggested tune: Aurelia
Thy Kingdom, Lord, we long for, Where love shall find its own; And brotherhood triumphant Our years of pride disown. Thy captive people languish In mill and mart and mine; We lift to Thee their anguish, We wait Thy promised Sign! Thy Kingdom, Lord, Thy Kingdom! All secretly it grows; In faithful hearts forever His seed the Sower sows; Yet ere its consummation Must dawn a mighty doom; For judgment and salvation The Son of Man shall come. If now perchance in tumult His destined Sign appear -- The rising of the people -- Dispel our coward fear! Let comforts that we cherish, Let old traditions die, Our wealth, our wisdom perish, So that He but draw nigh!
The following additional verses are found in Vida Scudder's The Church and the Hour: Reflections of a Socialist Churchwoman (1917):
In wrath and revolution The Sign may be displayed, But by Thy grace we'll greet it With spirits unafraid. The awestruck heart presages An Advent dread and sure; It hails the hope of ages-- Its Master in the poor. Beyond our fierce confusions, Our strife of speech and sword, Our wars of class and nation, We wait Thy certain Word. The meek and poor in spirit Who in Thy promise trust The Kingdom shall inherit, The blessing of the Just.
Hail the Glorious Golden City
Felix Adler, 1878 (alt}
Suggested tune: Dyke's "Sanctuary"
1. Hail the glorious golden city, Pictured by the seers of old! Everlasting light shines o'er it, Wondrous tales of it are told: Free and righteous men and women Dwell within its gleaming wall; Wrong is banished from its borders, Justice reigns supreme o'er all. 2. We are builders of that city, All our joys and all our groans Help to rear its shining ramparts; All our lives are building stones: Whether humble or exalted, All are called to task divine; All may aid alike to carry Forward God's sublime design. 3. And the work that we have builded, Oft with bleeding hands and tears, Oft in error, oft in anguish, Will not perish with our years: It will live and shine transfigured, In the final reign of right; It will pass into the splendors Of the city of the light.
Sarah N. Cleghorn
Thanks to St. Mathew who had been At mass-meetings in Palestine, We know whose side was spoken for When Comrade Jesus had the floor. "Where sore they toil and hard they lie, Among the great unwashed dwell I;-- The tramp, the convict, I am he; Cold-shoulder him; cold-shoulder me." By Dives'door with thoughtful eye, He did to-morrow prophesy;-- "The Kingdom's gate is low and small; the rich can scarce wedge through at all." "A dangerous man,"said Caiaphas; "an ignorant demagogue, alas! Friend of low women, it is he Slanders the upright Pharisee." For law and order, it was plain, For holy church, he must be slain. The troops were there to awe the crowd And violence was not allowed. Their clumsy force with force to foil His strong, clean hands He would not soil, He saw their childishness quite plain Between the lightnings of His pain. Between the twilights of His end, He made His fellow-felon friend; With swollen tongue and blinding eyes Invited him to Paradise. Ah, let no local Him refuse! Comrade Jesus hath paid His dues, Whatever other be debarred Comrade Jesus hath His red card.
Woody Guthrie's song to the tune of Jessie James exists in many different versions; the following verses draw upon several of them. In most versions, the third line of the chorus reads, "and a dirty little coward called Judas Iscariot", but I have kept a version that rhymes -- and is more fun to boot.
Jesus Christ was a man that travelled through the land, A carpenter true and brave. He said to the rich give your money to the poor So they laid Jesus Christ in his grave. Jesus was a man, a carpenter by hand, His followers true and brave. But that foe of the proletariat named Judas Iscariot Has laid Jesus Christ in his grave. The people of the land took Jesus by the hand; They followed him far and wide. I come not to bring you peace, but a sword, So they killed Jesus Christ on the sly. He went to the rich and he went to the poor, He went to the hungry and the lame He said that the poor would one day win the world, So they laid Jesus Christ in his grave. Well he went to the preachers, he went to the law; He told them all the same, Sell all of your jewelry and give it to the poor, So they laid Jesus Christ in his grave. Jesus was a man, a carpenter by hand, His followers true and brave. But that foe of the proletariat named Judas Iscariot Has laid Jesus Christ in his grave. When Jesus came to town all the working folks around Believed what he did say. Well it was the rich landlord and the preachers that they hired Who laid Jesus Christ in his grave. They nailed him there to die on a cross in the sky -- The lightening, the thunder and the rain -- And Judas Iscariot committed suicide When they laid Jesus Christ in his grave. This song was made up in New York City Of rich man, preacher, and slave. If Jesus was to preach what he preached in Galilee, They would lay Jesus Christ in his grave. Jesus was a man, a carpenter by hand, His followers true and brave. But that foe of the proletariat named Judas Iscariot Has laid Jesus Christ in his grave.
St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Alt.
Suggested tune: Vulpius (1609).
O Hope of all the lowly! To thirsting souls how kind! What grace to all who seek you! What bliss to all who find! My tongue but feebly praises, Yet praise be my employ; Love makes me bold to praise you, For you are all my joy. Dwell with us, and our darkness Will flee before your light; Scatter the world's deep midnight, And fill it with delight. Oh humankind, behold him, And seek his love to learn; And let your hearts, in seeking, Be fired with love and burn. O come, O Sun of Justice! Eternal judge and kind, The longing world awaits you: Arise, arise, and shine.