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O Little Child of Salem

Some time ago my mother made me aware of a poem her grandfather had written many years ago. My great grandfather was an Anglican minister somewhere in Quebec’s Eastern Townships and, to be honest, beyond that I know very little about him. But I really enjoyed this poem (which would have been ideal to post a week ago, perhaps on the Saturday before Easter).

O little child of Salem
Why weep ye so today?
I weep the gentle master
Who wiped my tears away.
Last night in Joseph’s garden
All cold and white he lay,
And now my heart is breaking
While other children play.

O little maid of Jairus,
Why weep ye so today?
Your dusky lashes trailing
The cheeks of ashen grey.
I weep the mighty master
Who waked me from my sleep,
But now in Joseph’s garden,
He slumbers, still and deep.

O Mary, timid Mary,
Why weep ye so today?
I weep the gentle Saviour,
Who took my sins away.
My spices all are gathered
To grace the rocky bed,
For now in Joseph’s garden,
My Lord is lying dead,

O child, O maid, O Mary,
Lift up your eyes and see,
The lilies all a-rocking,
In winds of Araby.
The turtle-dove is calling,
The birds are singing gay,
And there in Joseph’s garden,
The stone is rolled away.