Holy Day

I gospel myself out the door,
toddler in tow, schedule awry,
trusting the carboot to have what I need,
trusting the grace that orchestrates the day

while, afluster, I stride across
traffic lights in petroleum-fueled step,
eager to evade the Good Friday appeal because,
this day as per others, I’ve no change to spare.

I gospel the fissures where the mind tends to fizzle,
the legacy of this morning’s early vigil,
my son keeping watch in Gethsemane while
my weak-willing flesh resisted the prayer.

I gospel my slack-hearted refusal of gospel.
Though Christ plays
in a thousand places, I
fragment my mind in a thousand spaces.
Calvary only is needed today.
Gospel me, here and always.

Good Friday

Lent ends with a mirror:
I am the mocker, the spitter, the thief.
Like a child resenting their small role in the pageant,
I greet grace with a petulant, What about me?

This is me.
My role is the soldier with the reed and the crown,
the voice crying, Crucify! and, Messiah, come down.
I’m Judas and Pilate, am Herod, am the priests;
am the nails in the feet and the spear in the side,
am the object of all mercy’s most prodigal gifts,
am the face of Christ shining in victory.unnamed

Lent 45: Good Friday

The Darkness at the Crucifixion - Gustave Doré en.wikipedia.org
The Darkness at the Crucifixion – Gustave Doré

They took him down to Golgotha,

to Golgotha, the place of skulls;

they set him in between two thieves

and hurled disease on him.


They struck his face and speared his side

at Golgotha, at Golgotha;

they called him king and laughed at him

and cursed him on the tree.


The earth, it shook at Golgotha,

at Golgotha, the place of skulls;

the dead arose, the sky was dead

and soldiers stared at him.


They said he was the Son of God,

at Golgotha, at Golgotha;

he bled and died at Golgotha,

accursed, upon a tree.

The Slowing Year (For John Keble)

My year-long poetry project, “The Swelling Year”, is drawing to a close and will finish shortly after the Easter period ends. Today’s poem signals something of a milestone in the project: the last of the “feast days” for significant Christians remembered in the Anglican calendar. Somewhat appropriately, this poem remembers John Keble, a man whose ideas about church I would not completely see eye-to-eye with but with whom I have a level of kinship because he, like me, wrote poems for most of the days of the Anglican year, in a collection called “The Christian Year”. Today’s poem is based around his Good Friday poem; it does not seem that anyone other than Jesus should be the focal point of a poem today, so I have used this poem to unite Keble’s work and mine around our common Saviour, Jesus Christ.
The Slowing Year (For John Keble, Priest)
As in all lowly hearts he suffers still,
While we triumphant ride and have the world at will.
(John Keble, “Good Friday”)
And so the year goes on, for go it does,
Cycling through its old familiar ways;
We take a breath as this holiest of days
Slows down the motions of our weekly throes,
And hearts consumed with silent dreads and woes
But vaguely turn their twisted, inner gaze
Towards the tree where our Ancient of Days
Hangs, contorted, for a Roman show.
If we could pause the swelling of our years
Enough to let our wounds rest in his wounds,
We might find hiding places for our shame
And tissue torn to daub up all our tears.
There all our sorrows sound their sweetest tunes
Within the broken triumph of his Name.

The Soul’s Travail (Good Friday)

After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.
(Isaiah 53:11)
High and lifted up
Astonishing the faithless many
Kings with mouths agape yet shut
And hearts with closed fists
Lifted high above
The place of skulls and taunting
Elevated by his grief
The arm of God revealed…
Despised and rejected
Nothing to his form to draw
Our eyes up to him, yet he is
Now lifting, high, to breathe
And all now see
His final breath of life upon
The gaping, gawking many who
Do not know who he is
Breathe life:
His soul now stretches, its travail
Dragging nail-torn limbs across
The branches of the earth
Reach out and draw
All life unto yourself and give
Your every breath to see this light;
Your soul is satisfied…