A devout gardener, my eldest comes out here each day, to inspect, to water. Sometimes he waters the concrete, sometimes the soil. Most of it is sapped up by unseasonal sun, some soaks in. Butas we persist, he and I, we see this transformation, like a renewing mind: creeper grass stretching out green tendrils into a former wastelandand I am mindful to watch the miracle of creeping grace expanding where it is not seen.
No need to touch the scars;
Caravaggio got that detail wrong.
The sheer force of His presence made Thomas crumple,
doubt ceasing where belief gained life,
the parched taste, hesitant like salt, exultant like wine,
as loosened lips croaked, My Lord and my God.
Yet I am comforted to see
both the outstretched hand and
the companions’ fingers lifting his.
I cannot tell if, like Thomas,
I could simply stop doubting and believe at such a sight,
but, held up by the weathered,
briny hands of those who’ve seen with me,
I, like him, can lift a wrinkled brow in faith.
where, on the shore, He had already assembled, as a table, prepared for expected guests, a charcoal fire, some fish laid out, and, being himself the bread, a loaf laid for good measure.
No need, of course, for the fish they brought. No need, either, for that excess in their boats. To feed seven mouths plus His, that net-bursting horn of plenty was, as old Judas, wilting, would have had them know, not quite au fait.
Yet fitting – that He who made Leviathan solely to frolic should choose to play with the resources of Galilee to make much of these staples, to invite, to delight, and in the olive branch of this table set in the presence of friends and enemies
to ask, as the mercy-cup overflowed in the background, Simon, do you love me?
Something ends here:
paused mid-threat, flung groundward,
the man called Saul can breathe no more murder
while the horse kicks up its hooves and he points
his arms half-desperate at heaven.
Something begins here
yet it looks altogether like dying:
the fall, the pervasive dark,
the eyes failing to see, and yet
the spirit cognisant like never before.
I will show him how much he must suffer.
All this awaits, after the falling of scales;
now is the dying; the blindness preceding sight.
Must resurrection look like this?
With groans of creation, Saul will rise,
and Paul will live anew.
How like him to appear this way:
a walk alongside the mourners,
an attentive ear, a willingness to linger,
and then – the climax –
seated at table,
bread, the beloved symbol, poised in hand,
and at its breaking
all finally clear.
How like him
who broke bread with Zaccheus,
with Levi, with Judas.
How very like the bread Himself
to be broken, then to be known.
To Cleopas and his friend,
the revelation and its impact no doubt stuck.
Their paradigm, irremediably shifted, could hardly go back.
Such things as resurrections we don’t
forget in any hurry.
Yet for those serving at table, I wonder:
did the light dawn so quickly, so decisively?
More or less a normal night’s work,
and that constant attempt not to eavesdrop
or at least not be seen doing so.
And then, some vague but growing sense
that here was a light altogether different in quality,
such that everything else was jet in the background,
that here was a customer who transformed the meals he ate
and left behind more than he took.
Perhaps, on the table,
after he left, as though spirited away,
in place of the customary tip a piece
of bread leftover, and a cup of wine,
and with the skeleton of the fish course lingering on the plate,
a parchment asking silently,
“Shall these dry bones live?”