Jesus Appears to the Disciples

 

i

 

doors locked,

they hold the air in stagnant stasis

an undivided stench of defeat

despite whispers to the contrary

 

suffocated by panic

fear’s fingers close over mouths

around hearts

constricting hope

 

despite the breath she struggles

to breathe in to familiar lives

 

 

ii

 

no wonder one escapes

to walk his fear in streets that remind

of what was taken, done, destroyed

 

does he sit in an empty tomb

a vacated womb

where, only remaining,

a vacant shroud,

scented with possibilities

lays still discarded on stone.

 

he alone

to watch and wonder.

reminding him the One is born

no longer here

but gone

 

 

iii

 

the room is broken

by the presence of defiance

as scars declare

a disregard

for death’s mistaken power

 

Peace be with you

 

probing fingers penetrating scars

to hold doubt at bay

 

receiving,

believing,

 

they are still prisoners

in a way

 

 

iv

 

the fear in the one who was absent,

but present to the world,

returns in wonder

a reminder

that for all they have touched

been given

they still have not risked

the light of the world.

 

 

Day 47, Luke 24.1-12: The Testimony of Witnesses

Hear my idle tale.

I do not care about your disbelief,

test it if you must,

but know his body is not claimed by dust.

 

Here there is emptiness

that is not bleak despairing.

Instead hear the whispers of angels

who defy reason

and shake the foundations

that once made you secure

like the door that sealed the dead.

 

The unmovable is displaced,

as the sand is imprinted with studded footprints.

 

Pieta

The Pieta is an artistic representation of Mary holding the body of her dead son, Jesus. I named this poem, in one sense, wrongly because of that, but it always seemed the right title. This poem became the first in a trilogy of poems about Mary the other two are I Did Not Expect and Nativity/Pieta

 

 

eyes, once wise,

never aged in her gaze

her child upon the cross

 

a face, rough,

a thousand scratches to her touch,

her child upon the cross

 

the sword that pierced,

has pierced her soul,

her child upon the cross

 

the baby born,

a man before her shorn,

her child upon the cross

 

held, swaddled, not in bands,

but in a shroud from strangers hands,

her child upon the cross

 

and tears once celebrating,

now spill again lamenting,

her child upon the cross.

 

years have past, but not undone,

the mother holds her murdered son,

her child upon the cross

 

 

Day 44, Luke 22.39-46: Remember?

My poems are nearing the end of the story they needed to tell.

Maundy Thursday for me is always the day that is most saturated with emotion. 

 

 

The poet remembers

paints

portrays

blossoming beads

sweat that bleeds

in salted pearls of desperation

seasoning earth’s anticipation.

 

Here the cup does not run over

with anything more

than soured wine.

 

remember?

 

Fervent silence

the only sound

that breaks the night

before the shouts,

the kiss.

 

The friends now fled.

 

This anamnesis will awaken

those who sleep at the dawn

of death’s sunset.

 

 

Day 43, Luke 21.37-22.6: Judas

Semblant disciple?

Take your tortured turn,

while denying past and present,

weary of hope that has not flourished in time.

 

What broken desire is it

that goes unfilled in a veiled torment?

A portent of the end that is arriving.

 

Who failed in this falling?

Was it better not to be born

as faith fractured and the heart tore?

 

Day 41, Luke 19.45-48: The Last Week

At the beginning of this process I wrote the poem, Face The City. In my reading, all those weeks ago, Jesus was turning to Jerusalem and this week we mark what unfolded when he got there. This is a profound and powerful week, and one that always takes it’s personal toll. My own mum died 17 years ago on the Maundy Thursday of Holy Week and, so for me, it is a week that is pregnant with emotion. Grief and hope were acutely part of that week of my life and continue to be so. Such are the gifts those we love leave with us.

Enough of me though. That poem, which I began this journey with, ended with these lines:

Feeble,

what are you against this panoply of power?

do you believe, for one moment, love can conquer here?

Jesus is about to discover one answer to those questions while offering another. I hope this week I can offer his story in new words, but it is too soon to tell. So to the poem for today:

 

The Last Week

 

Words of wisdom fall

at feet that kick them away.

So the end arrives.

Day 40, Luke 18.29-40: Silence and Stones

So all these days on, all these poems later, and I find myself back with stones. In the desert they held the possibility of bread, now in the city they are offered as voices of praise; that which can praise can also turn and become a threat and danger.

 

Silence and Stones

 

Can the stones cry out

if people are silenced?

Or will they be lifted

and thrown,

a violence

reminding God,

should she need it,

that he who passes by

will walk these streets,

and die.