ANACOLUTHON* FOR GOOD FRIDAY

How much should the children see?
We keep reading them
about your dying to save—

Grandmother’s veiled mirrors.
Children at the grave.
Under Pontius Pilate–

It doesn’t follow that your death–
because I’m not–
and the world isn’t–

What does salvation mean?
Oh, torture.  All those movies
about murder, making millions.

Why must they call it good?
Stations of the cross–
Keeping up with the news–

The point being?
Open the heart to compassion.
Whose plan?  Whose blood?

The first green of Spring.
The way they kill chickens.
Vinegar and sponge.

*Anacolúthon means  “not following.”   As in when you cancel out what you were going to say in mid-sentence and say something else instead.

IN FROM THE COUNTRY

Here, you!  Yes, you, bumpkin!
I didn’t understand.
I was caught in the crowd
watching the prisoners stumbling past
with crossbeams on their backs,
shuffling toward the hill
where they’d be hung.
The soldier hauled me
out of the crowd and lifted
the beam from the back
of the smallest man
and set it hard on me.
Carry this for him.
I was afraid.
The little man looked at me.
There was blood drying
around his eyes.  He spoke
to me, a whisper through ruined lips.
Please.  I cannot do it alone.
The weight of the thing was terrible,
and I’m the strongest man I know.
It was as if all the world was in that beam
and the world was burning.
Then the little man took my hand.
I thought of my mother at home
feeding the orphan lambs
and my father pruning the vines.
Women laughing at the well,
children playing in the street,
the old men sitting in the shade.
We walked to the hill
and they took it off me
and tied him to it
and hung him up
and he died.
I still don’t understand.

UNDER PONTIUS PILATE

I didn’t ask for this, so unreasonable, so complex.
So contrary to common sense.

I thought him harmless enough–
no threat to the order–just another fanatic

with a herd of ragtag friends.
But the rabble was frightening–

Caesar would not approve.
And their strange religion–

just the one god
with his endless demands.

But I was sure they’d let him go,
instead of Barabbas. (How I hate

to think of that terrorist
loose again.   Caesar

will not approve.)
I washed my hands of it.

And yet, he haunts me,
standing there, still silent,

Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.
What I have written,
I have written.

BALANCE

March is a painting of silver and gray.
Water everywhere.

Anything might happen:  snow or sun,
daffodils or ice.

The Queen of March lifts the balance and rattles
the pebbles in her pocket.

We ought to leave honey-cakes for her
at this crossroad

so she will leave us in peace while
we wonder:

Will something move the stone or this time
will death win?

We teeter on the fulcrum while
light plays on the beams.

PROMPT #11: INVITATION

We will meet at dawn,
at the corner in front of the music store.
Dress warmly, even if it isn’t cold.
Wear strong shoes. Bring
a thesaurus, a pocketful
of small stones, a sandwich with
no mayonnaise or radishes.
Do not wear a wristwatch;
a pocket watch is okay.
You will not need a water bottle,
or matches, or cupcakes.
Please remember not
to bring a notebook.
If you forget, it will be
confiscated and not returned.
All transportation will be
provided, but you will be expected
to tip the chimney sweep.
Ten percent should be plenty.
Expect porta-potties but no phone service.
You will be allowed to feed
the bears, but giving money
to the mimes is strongly discouraged.
We will return to the corner
promptly at midnight.  There should be
someone you trust waiting for you.
I do hope you can come.

R.S.V.P.

PROMPT #22: A NEWS STORY

Beyond the velvet curtain we could see them:
men in suits, moving around,
doing important things, making significant
gestures.  The old men in red
were gliding to and fro.  They carried papers
and microphones.  Someone lit the charcoal
in the thurible.  Someone found the incense
in a little box on a shelf.  Someone
volunteered to hold the book
with the Latin text.  The little white hat
fit well:  it would stay on his head.
The stole was heavy, yet he managed to lift
his arms to bless.

 

This prompt from David Weinstock.

WIND

The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, 
but canst not tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth. . .
~John 3:8

It comes from the heat of the sun, from the
turning of Earth.  It whirlpools and eddies
through mountains and valleys, carries dust
from the deserts, and rain from the seas,
migrating raptors and warblers and sparrows.
It fans the great fires, and piles up the waters,
it tightens in spirals, and carries off houses.
Wind fills our bodies with breath from the heavens.
Wind fills the canyons.  It blows where it wills.