The Marks of Grace

My heart this morning was a sore
And wounded thing; I saw it when
I rose but did not know it for
It only bore the marks of shame.
But with no other hearts around,
I walked with into the day.

It dripped its refuse about the house,
Marked my furniture and my clothes
And as I sat with it inside
My lap it bled down to my feet;
All I saw was smeared with it,
These marks of shame from my own heart.

Nursing it yet empty in my
Chest where this sore heart belonged,
I saw the king of love, carrying
Like me a wounded, bleeding heart,
Though unlike me he smiled to hold
That heart which was besmirched and red.

Take this heart, he said to me
As he took the broken thing
Which I held in my red hands;
And as he took it I looked in
To his eyes which flowed and his
Brow which bled from open wounds.

Why do you bleed? I asked, and in
My empty chest despaired to see
That kings should weep and bleed like me;
If, I thought, his heart is no
Stronger or more whole than mine,
What hope have I, far from a king?

At my words his eyes poured out
More tears and redder grew his brow.
He gave me no reply but fell,
A broken and defeated king,
Upon the ground where he lay in
The redness of my death and shame;

But as his blood commingled with
The shame that poured still from my heart,
I saw a magic, perfect thing
Emerge from this unholy mess:
I saw his brow glow fiery white
And saw his radiance fill my heart;

It glowed now like him and its shame
Was nowhere to be seen within
The glory of the glowing haze,
A sight that shone straight into me,
And where the blood had made all red
Was now this wondrous white-as-snow.

Did I see him stand and take
His place upon a jewelled throne?
I cannot truly say, though I
Heard his voice above me say
That now I bore the marks of grace
Where had before been shame.

And if I bleed still and am sore
Upon my weary, broken brow,
It is because I am like him.
And so I will not be ashamed
To feel these wounds that scar his heart
For he has made me shine like him.

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