wordsout by Godfrey Rust                                                Incarnate 7 of 21   theme christmas    HOME  


The sceptical shepherd

No, you go down and see what’s what

I’ll stay and watch the flock.

They need some pastoral concern,

they’ve had a nasty shock.


Off they go, feet before brain,

just like a herd of sheep.

Fools rush in where angels fear

to tread in something deep.


Don’t they see that it’s fake news,

this bulletin tonight?

Why should God suddenly whip up

so much angel delight?


A baby lying in a manger,

destined to be king?

I’ve seen what happens to Messiahs:

it’s not encouraging.

Peace on earth? Goodwill to men?

Just one more trick to knife us.

Why don’t they sing that serenade

to Pilate and to Caiaphas?


They need some scapegoat, I expect,

to make the right impression,

so they’ve set up some poor innocent

to teach us all a lesson.


No, don’t disturb the status quo,

that’s not prudent behaviour.

There’s priests and Romans everywhere:

none of them wants a Saviour.

I don’t believe this “heavenly host”,

the story’s just a scam.

They’ll string him up like mutton

and butcher him like lamb.


Written for the carol service at St John’s, West Ealing in 2017, performed there by Richard Lewis.

The first verse is spoken to the other shepherds (disappearing towards Bethlehem). After a brief pause the rest of the piece is soliloquy. 

Godfrey Rust, godfrey@wordsout.co.uk. See here for details of permissions for use.