Jesus and the Sparrows

By | 1 July 1997

from the eighth century Irish

When Jesus, son of living God,
Was still a child, five years of age,
He played in twelve small water puddles
That he blessed and fenced around with clay.

And Jesus made twelve little bird-shapes –
The ones called passeres;
Out of the smooth clay he modelled
Twelve sparrows on a Sabbath day.

Then comes a Jew who cautions Jesus,
Son of the almighty God,
And takes him by the hand to Joseph,
To have him chide his foster child.

“Give your son a scolding, Joseph,
Caution him for his misdeeds.
On the Sabbath he has fashioned
Clay images of birds.”

Then Jesus claps his hands together.
They hear his child-voice give a shout.
Before their eyes the prince of graces
Scares a flock of sparrows up.

They hear him speak the clear small words.
The pure lips of Jesus move:
“So that you may know who made you
Fly home now. Away! Be off!”

A witness spread the news: a story
Everybody marvelled at.
They listened and could hear distinctly
The little cries of birds in flight.

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