Come little cousin. Come, take my hand.
We must worship the Lord, before Christmas draws near.
Let us walk to the church, for the evening is clear,
and the silvery moon lights our path through the land.
Pedro walked quietly, but his concern was soon clear.
Pepita was reluctant and her pace was so slow.
Little cousin, your countenance expresses your woe
Come swiftly. I assure you there is nothing to fear.
Pepita’s brown eyes became filled with soft tears.
Her cousin stopped walking and asked her the cause.
She looked earnestly at Pedro and after a pause,
Sat down on the roadside and told him her fears.
I ‘m so very ashamed. I have nothing to give
To the Christ Child tonight, when we arrive at the church.
I have nothing to give him, despite a long search.
Do you think he will love me, my sins to forgive?
Of course he will cousin, for he knows how you’ve tried.
No matter how small or how humble your gift,
if it’s given with love, his spirits will lift,
and you’ll not find his love and forgiveness denied.
Pepita looked around her, and next to her feet
were wild flowers from the fields, proud beauties, though small.
Nimbly gathering flowers from this colourful sprawl
she bound a sweet posy, tiny yet neat.
They walked hand in hand to the house of their God.
Entering the church, Pepita slowed down.
Pedro encouraged her and she banished her frown,
Setting down the sweet posy as though nothing was odd.
As she knelt at the altar, Pepita was rocked
By a shaft of bright light, so vividly hued
the whole building with light was suddenly imbued,
and the congregation gasping, incredulous and shocked!
For there at the altar, where her posy had been,
was a basket of red and green flowers, so it seemed.
Pepita , surprised, knew that she’d been redeemed
and joyfully her countenance became more serene.
From that day in history, to this present day,
those flowers have been worshipped at Christmas each year.
For the flowers the child picked, are symbols of cheer,
used at this season our joy to convey.
So what is the flower that bedecks modern day Hestia?
That Christians display every year, without fail?
The plant that’s the focus of this ancient tale
Is Euphorbia pulcherrima. Or simply, Poinsettia.
This poem is based on a Mexican legend concerning the origin of the Poinsettia. You can learn more about the Poinsettia, and how it acquired it’s name by visiting http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/poinsettia/