OK, it’s time to skip ahead to a Christmas poem:
This was a fairly early sonnet, but I still think it’s one of my best. It stems from the fact that Bethlehem in Hebrew (Beth Lechem) means “House of Bread.” And so, some two millennia ago, it came to be. The poem was in New Oxford Review, Jan.-Feb., 1982, p. 31.
Bethlehem, Beth Lechem, House of Bread
Your white stones waited silent in the sun
For long years (long as people feel them run).
The prophets wrote no more; the Rabbis read
The old words and unraveled every thread
And found your secret out: You were the one.
Yet when the time can and the thing was done,
They spent the night at home asleep in bed.
Oh, they could put their fingers on the pages
That told the old fox Herod it was you.
But those uncircumcised, stargazing sages
Came first, and shepherds, wet with evening dew
Had long since been there, and had all been fed
In Bethlehem, Beth Lechem, House of Bread.