Holy Innocents Singularity





Highland Shepherd Resources | Holy Innocents Holocaust | Thorns and Barbed Wire

Harold Macdonald Poetry | Judaica


The second world war unraveled
at different
speeds in Europe, Canada.

Across the sea,
rivers of broken persons
were bleeding like lava past each other
through smoking rubble.
Who survived? Whose name
remembered? And where last seen
alive? When
the end came, pain remained,
so much to mend!

But not for us;
we were reborn
on that first victory morn!

The university burst;
ten thousand came
pell mell
through the doors
grads from hell, some uniformed
swarmed in that fall,
crammed nearby churches,
pro tem lecture halls.

Events lightened; peace-time density
displaced the weight of killing.
Time quickened, ticking towards a future:
a career, a home, a mate,
and three point eight
children each; a suburb.

When not disturbed
(a rarity),
you might hear the sound
of weeping,
seeping from Auschwitz; as if
a handful of particles of light could escape
from a black hole’s centre
where time had stopped, the moment of the dead -
And massive dread.

At Trinity, I won the prize
in dogma; did not hear the cries.
I was in error, the
bearer of hollow words,
my learning leaking
truths - as returning bombers
with ruptured tanks, seeking home,
lose fuel, fall short, (hamartia!)
into the Channel.
Unwitting teachers, (half aware?)
a trifle flannel-mouthed,
tried to show a
virtual Deity not really there,
laid waste, Who’d died
in Shoah

I said to the meadows
“Grace perfects nature”
“Cyanide perfects Jews”, whispered the grass,
“alas, alas!”

“Nature presupposes grace”, I told the wood:
“Not Germaine” mused the trees “you have not understood:
Jews presuppose gas
and they became ash”.

Scales fall slow from eyes,
some hear the cries,
some sense enormity:
six million Jews did not return!
their domiciles usurped, the
titles burned, theived



in conformity with latest style

we built a domicile for God:

a church.


In our church, as one, we’d kneel

for wine and bread
no I without a Thou, no me instead
of you; we’d be honest folk and poor.
Flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone; for sure
we were Christ’s Bride. We’d sup -
the very God would lift us up.


Carved at the centre of our altar, Christ’s death:

on a tree his final breath;

on the right his rising from the tomb;

left, his coming from the womb

with simple shepherds from their flocks

and sheep and cow and ox.

Encircling left and right roots from the wood

drew life from either side,

held Him strong

adorned in Calvary’s blood.


As if past could still be reached

as if a fault had not been breached

and all the crowns

not fallen down.

As if our scorn, our fine belief

had not bequeathed

an evil singularity,

an infinite ill will.

All was prelude

to the final, speechless, burning of the flesh


The shame of Shoah
vapourized the past with incandescent heat
is God’s judgement seat!
A mass gone critical, holocaust
gathered all that’s holy
in its hot embrace
laying it waste,
save ashen
images, another passion.

Did not the soot lift
through the sky, sift
down to soil the prairie earth?
to curse
our reasons why,
what we were and are?
Still air,
the windows shut, flies buzz, the door
ajar, seeking, we wait
the speaking
of the living Word.

One thing I see; I too,
am lost,
in a sense, “laid waste”.
Landmarks are defaced. Guides
point the other way.
Pride is shattered. How could
we have not seen? Been
so blind?
And mind: have we already
again to see what matters?

May justice fall
like rain! Pour down,
purge perpetrators!
May God’s Ghost find
the lost host, those who paid
the needless cost;
whom most He loved,
who will surely wear the crown.


Poems from the Eighth Decade

Copyright © 2004 Harold Macdonald