Ballad to Our Lady of Tears

A prayer for the unborn

by Therese Ickinger
(Reprinted from The Remnant, 1976)


O Mary, Mother of all men

Remember how one day

You rocked a little Boy to sleep

In a cradle filled with hay.


Remember how you held Him,

The long and weary night,

You fled from Herodís soldiers

In Egyptís dismal flight.


How the lonely stars looked down.

How the night was long;

With hoof beats in the distance

But in your heart a song.


You trod the darkness round you

You warmed the sands so cold

You lulled the winds to whispers

And turned the tears to gold.


When God was very little

And Life was very new,

With death a lurking shadow

He chose to cling to you.


He chose not Heavenís legions,

Nor Michaelís sword of flame,

To shield Him in the darkness;

He chose your tender name.


Your tender arms to hold Him,

Your tender eyes so deep,

Your tender voice to comfort

And sing His soul to sleep.


Look down again in pity

O Mother of Our Lord

Upon a world where children still

Must flee from Herodís sword.


Where Moloch claims his victims still

And still the price is paid

Where lust is crowned and love is drowned

And death a grim charade.


Where little ones are torn apart

Or burned with hateful brine

Where murder in a velvet coat

Is a social valentine.


These little hands, these little feet,

These little eyes and ears,

O Mother, see their misery

Baptize them in your tears.


They have never known the sunshine

Nor felt the cool of rain

Their heritage is horror

Their first caress is pain.


They were the breath of springtime.

The promise April gave,

Til winterís vultures ravished-

Their cradle is their grave.


And now before the Father

Some ask: whose can these be?

Please wrap your arms around them,

Say: these belong to me.


For love of Him who was little too,

Who traded Heaven to be with you,

Take these children torn apart

To the playground of your heart.

Bruised and swollen, crucified

On the cross of human pride;

May their bodies perfect rise,

Take their souls to paradise.


Let them not for want of grace

Linger in a darkened place.

Ask your Son to give them joy,

He was once a little Boy.


Now and at the hour of death,

May they feel your gentle breath;

Tuck them in a bed of white,

O Mother, sing to them tonight!