The serpent bites deep;
venom lurks where least expected.
The heart has chasms, labyrinths, unknown even to itself.
What way out have we but to weep?
Deceitful beyond all things,
the heart’s lie is more twisted than you ever thought.
Good intentions pave Destruction’s road;
who will rid me of this body of death?
Follow the trail of tears;
enter the wilderness where, sweating blood, He kneels.
Kneel too beside Him, where spirit wills but flesh resists.
Word-made-flesh, His flesh transfigures humbled dust.
Yet dust we are we cannot stay
awake and pray (the flesh is weak)
and dust we are we walk away
and hide ourselves in dull deceit.
And dust He is yet more than dust
transfigured with the Father’s grief;
our dust He takes up to the Cross
and dies beside a thief.
First the garden.
And this first betrayal:
when most needed; then –
in the wings, a kiss
at the ready; a sword,
the sternness of armies
come to slay a spotless lamb.
O Christ –
I have not even a sword;
only betrayers’ kisses
heaped with pride.
Why must You bleed, even now?
When legions of angels could
take You away?
Why must You take the kiss of death
as we betray our Lamb?