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2 Poems for Easter

March 30, 2013–The first of these two poems was written following the death of the infant son of very close friends.  The second was part of a larger cycle of poems written after the birth of our first daughter.  Both are attempts to explore the psychology of Mary, the mother of Jesus and seem an appropriate way to celebrate Easter.

For Zion and His Namesake


Now she sat in shadow shrouded,
her understanding doubly clouded,
black barrenness without
mirroring bleak bitterness within:
the outer emptiness a twin
of late-discovered doubt.


She’d dreamt strong dreams for her precious son,
destined now to remain undone:
no future now, no life
or prestige or recognition;
no familial fruition
and worst of all, no wife.


No wife for him who longed to be
wedded, as when in Galilee
at Cana’s wedding, she’d said,
“They have no wine to celebrate,
no wine with which to consummate
the joy of their marriage bed.”


“You ask for me to give them wine;
to fill their empty cups from mine,
but soon all Christendom
will a headier vintage drink
to mark our union, for thus I think:
my time has not yet come.”


Such hopes for his own wedding day,
desolate now and done away:
casualties of his doom…
unless, indeed, a bride should come
to join him in his martyrdom
and in his borrowed tomb.


Many simple, well-meaning friends
mumbled words of God’s perfect ends,
but his means remained unclear.
And talk of Deity’s sovereignty
sufficed only to a harmony
of the discord in her ear.


And though indeed the Benevolence bring
inevitably, some stronger thing
born of the current strain,
still, such glorious future bliss
would not be birthed apart from this
present, suffocating pain.


Now the Sabbath had departed
feeble, wan and broken-hearted
as ne’er Sabbath had before.
She wept as Rachel once had wept
for her sweet children who sweetly slept
with room for one sleeper more.


All alone in an upstairs room,
she weakly welcomed the growing gloom
of another pallid day:
an unremarkable reminder
of long years not yet behind her
‘til her own funeral day.


Yet through Zion’s roads and intersections
and her soul’s streets’ dim reflections
a chill breeze began to blow,
under which influence all things stirred
so that through numbness she faintly heard
some fresh commotion below.


Holy Mary, Mother of God


The prophet’s voice rang in her ears
but no clarity was got by his word,
though she pondered it over the years
and it preyed on her hopes and her fears
while her helpless Lord
cried infinite tears.
He’d said, “Your heart also will feel his sword.”


The first of the Gentiles came
bringing gifts which she dare not refuse
and with their gifts they laid claim
to a share in His glory and shame.
It was not theirs to use,
but they still used His name:
They said, “Where is He, born King of the Jews?”


As a boy in the temple, He taught;
the priests were confounded by all that He knew.
But throughout the city He was anxiously sought
as He would be by many, and by many fought,
but be found by only a few.
She voiced what so many’ve thought:
She said, “We’ve been eagerly searching for You.”


She was soon burned by the glorious fires
of His iconoclastical ways.
He reduced His mother’s desires
to ashes on His funeral pyres
upon which He lays
all His kingdom requires.
He said, “My mother is anyone who obeys.”


With the certainty which eternity designed
her virgin womb had been filled.
The Godhead gravely consigned
Itself to flesh, that flesh might be refined.
His flesh he allowed to be killed
And His filial duty resigned.
He’d said, “In three days this Temple I’ll build.”


She saw the sky grow as dark as the night
on the Day of Atoning catastrophe;
along with the earth she quaked at the sight
of that disparate union, gleeful in might,
‘neath Rome’s ecumenical tree.
When despair reached its height
He said, “My God has forsaken Me.”


Alone with her grief for the God she had borne
she mourned bitterly all through the next day,
‘til she first received word on the following morn
that her Son, from death’s womb, had been violently torn
and an angel guarded that way.
To all the forlorn
he said, “Come, see the place where He lay.”

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