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For Zion and His Namesake

This poem was originally written following the death of the infant son of a close friend. I’ve taken to re-posting it annually, in celebration of Easter. In it I’m trying to explore the emotional experience of Mary as she ponders the life and death of her son, Jesus Christ.

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,” said he, “their 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 crisp breeze began to blow,
under which influence all things stirred
so that through numbness she faintly heard
some fresh commotion below.

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