The seven last words (1)

This time of year I go searching.  Searching for poetry and art.  I think that’s because of the high holy mysteries we are entering into.  Nothing else can attempt to express the depth and richness of these holy matters.  So for the next few days I will give you pieces of a poem I found somewhere by Fr. John W. Lynch–I believe the same who wrote the magnificent A Woman Wrapped in Silence.  I give it to you in pieces because it’s worth savoring bits at a time.  The seven last words.

The Crucifixion

He is alive with pain: His body lifts
and turns and quivers as the lightning streaks
Again, and iron thunder cracks and breaks
And shatters in the dark beneath His blood;
Until the tremors in His flesh are stopped,
And breathing, He discovers He is vised.
His body forms a frame to hold a frame;
He is a Man made once with blunted beams! . . .
Their voices rise to Him from distant pits.
They are like echoes of an ended world
He once had known where men with hands and feet
Could move among contentions and be brave
With gesture.  He could hear them, feel their stride
And strut along the ground, receive their scorn,
Their laughter, know that they were tall and bold
And beckoning to Him that He come down,
Come down and be a Man again in whole,
Unfastened body that will need a robe
And pathway to the pardons of the world.

‘Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.’

The blood swelled sickly in His mouth, and breath
Was ended, and His heart was all he heard.
Somewhere, as a bird might sing to Him,
Above Him, level to His hair, so near
He need not search, nor move, nor seek for space
Of quiet in the sounding of His blood,
He hears a voice that begs last royal gift
Of brief remembering. He cannot see,
And wrenching now athwart the rigid wood,
His head uplifted, pulling at the nails,
He cannot reach last moment of relief
That He may bring to eyes that seek His own.
They are two faces in the sun, so fixed
Against the posts that they must stare outward only,
Separate, and must declare their loves
In quick companionship of lonely words.

‘This day thou shalt be with me in Paradise.’

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