Category Archives: Bethlehem

“Bethlehem’s Hours’ Mourn”

“Bethlehem’s Hours’ Mourn”

Bethlehem’s hour’s mourned, furtive glances northward toward Nazareth;
Veiled her expectations as soon enough her promised Son survives.
She knows that somewhere in between this king contrives
Within himself to build a wall. He practices precision; he does not guess.
He knows exactly what he wants, and from the East come
Three who only recently made queries round the campfires
‘Neath the skies beyond the Jordan. Casually they’ve inquired,
“What are these walls, and what the genesis of guns
And orchards plaited all along the shepherds’ run? Whose images are these,
And what is it they disguise, the vulgate for the people?”
Yes, they come, these three, adrift once again stalled between the steeples,
Barred, forbidden. Then again, their passage isn’t what it used to be.
They ask in vain and find the answers come as no surprise.
The king’s awake tonight; he’ll not fool the wise this time.

“They Might Have Opened All the Doors”

…again, in honour of the Blessed Event commemorated on this day…Bahá’ís throughout the world commemorate this evening after sundown and tomorrow the Declaration of The Báb, the Forerunner, the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, Whose purpose was to prepare the world for the imminent appearance of Bahá’u’lláh the Promise of All Ages and Religions and Founder of the Bahá’í Faith. The declaration of His mission on earth came in the early evening hours of 23 May 1844 when He declared His Advent to the first of the believers in His Faith.

“Whom do you claim to be,” he asked the Báb, “and what is the message which you have brought?” “I am,” thrice exclaimed the Báb, “I am, I am, the promised One! I am the One whose name you have for a thousand years invoked, at whose  mention you have risen, whose advent you have longed to witness, and the hour of whose Revelation you have prayed God to hasten. Verily I say, it is incumbent upon the peoples of both the East and the West to obey My word and to pledge allegiance to My person.”

The Dawn-Breakers, p. 316

The Báb (1819-1850)

House of The Báb in Shiráz, Irán [destroyed by Muslims in recent years


On May 23, 1844, in Shiráz, Persia, a young man known as The Báb announced the imminent appearance of the Messenger of God awaited by all the peoples of the world. The title “Báb” means “the Gate.” Although Himself the bearer of an Independent Revelation from God, The Báb declared that His purpose was to prepare mankind for this advent.


Swift and savage persecution at the hands of the dominant Muslim clergy followed this announcement. The Báb was arrested, beaten, imprisoned, and finally on July 9, 1850 was executed in the public square of the city of Tabríz. Some 20,000 of His followers perished in a series of massacres throughout Persia. Today, the majestic building with the golden dome, overlooking the Bay of Haifa, Israel, and set amidst beautiful gardens, is the Shrine where The Báb‘s earthly remains are entombed.

“They Might Have Opened
All the Doors”

They might have opened all the doors; they might have paced the floors;
They might have seen His image somewhere in the dream or lingering
In atavistic traces of His family line, the graces, strong and nimble fingering
Upon the instrument, the shrill nib carving statues from the stone,
in voice a thousand rapturous scores.
They might have seen themselves beside Him somewhere there in the breach,
His sun’s withdrawal at implosion, His apogée at dusk approaching
Whispering luminosities, crescendi in the vibration in clefs defying
barriers and shibboleths, crouching
In scattered catacombs, beyond the reach
Of mortals East and all expectant worshipers at West, in haste ancipating
Bas-relief scrawled along the walls and fractured vents
up from the seabed of all humanity,
Famed and storied such that His arrival only rivalled Bethlehem’s nativity
And by appointment, lest the Great Announcement
failed to spawn a catholic antipathy.
With but a word, the pantheon of deities and vain imaginings
that once were stone
were given breath to stifle such precocity in letters as the pen
Cannot recall nor circumscribe: that night, the Nineteen found their mark
as lightning from East to West and back again.

…admittedly obscure, my few words here will find their meaning in the hearts of all Bahá’ís who know the significance of this day; to all the rest, I beg indulgence for these few hours…

43:1 Afterward he brought me to The Báb, even The Báb that looketh toward the East: 43:2 And, behold, Bahá’u’lláh came from the way of the East: and His voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with His glory.

43:3 And it was according to the appearance of the vision which I saw, even according to the vision that I saw when I came to destroy the city: and the visions were like the vision that I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell upon my face.

43:4 And Bahá’u’lláh came into the House by the way of The Báb whose prospect is toward the East.

Ezekiel

“Bethlehem’s Hours’ Mourn”

Bethlehem

“Bethlehem’s Hours’ Mourn”

Bethlehem’s hours’ mourn, furtive glances northward toward Nazareth
Veil yet another year’s expectations as soon enough her promised Son survives.
This Sacred Lady knows that somewhere in between the two the king contrives
Within himself a fevered wall. He practices predilection; he does not guess.
He knows exactly what he wants, and from the East come
Annually the three who make queries round the campfires
‘Neath the skies from well beyond the Jordan. Casually they inquire,
“What are these Golan walls, and what the genesis of guns
And orchards plaited all along the shepherds’ run? Whose images are these,
And what is it they disguise, what the New Year’s  Vulgate for the people?”
Yes, they come, these three, adrift once again, stalled between the steeples,
Innocent, yet barred, viscosity forbidding. Their passage isn’t what it used to be.
They ask in earnest and find the answers always cause for surprise.
The king’s awake tonight; he’ll not fool the wise this time.
“Yes,” they say, “you’ll find Herod’s tomb beneath it all, and Caesar’s not far
Behind buried in debris never imagined nor have the Magi ever seen
As much though their restive restless centuries’ search.  Truth has always been
Adjusted, gleaned by gratuities, facts of hubris born of Ptolemy’s predilections,
Dwarfed and all but swallowed in the complaisant craw of economies; schemes,
Modern pontiffs asserting prescient views in arrears and despite their slumbers
Solvent in the past and future well beyond prognosis and the numbers
Used to define their holiness and humour all humanity. Their smiles seem
To reach for meaning in every fireplace; they sift the ashes of the kiln
And pyre and dote on what they think they’ve found as if confirmed
Not least by carbon’s ancient age and not at all by what is earned.
Admire the Chinese, while they rise, ballast for the Pantheon of what fits the bill
And never mind the incense and sacrifice, the penury, the monuments to reigns
As numberless in academic catalogues as tea leaves left in cups and blood stains
on a million crosses planted in a Holy Land of boiling clouds and endless pain.

A threesome