Slowly, carefully, hand over hand
His body lowered down
From the cross.
Mary reaches toward him,
Not knowing whether to assist
Or wait to receive it.
Casting around for a place,
Finally, she sits on Golgotha’s cold stone.
Where they lay him on her lap
Receiving her firstborn
But now in searing grief, not in joyful promise.
This moment is last, not first.
The last time she will hold him.
Last time she will see him.
Wanting this closeness to endure,
She lingers, ponders and weeps, alone.
Waiting for consolation she knows will never come.
Men who lifted him down retreat,
Respectfully, in backward steps,
Replaced by sorrow now in giant waves.
Accompanied by flowing tears
Down from her still youthful face, now worn,
Cascading on flowing garments to the ground.
Behold the man…his body slumped, head back,
Lifeless, spent, displayed across her in death,
Sheer weight releasing yet more anguish,
Remembrance of great promise, now become grim,
She contemplates the “piercing sword”
Because of him, the “rising and falling” of many.
Now it really is “finished.”
All is quiet like Bethlehem,
Bookends of his life cast in serenity.
As she sits, emptied now herself,
Peace seeps unexpectedly down inside
An undisturbed tranquility welcomed in solitude.
She thinks: what is to be, beyond this moment?
Why arise, when I know not where to go,
What to do
Or what the future holds without him?
So she stays and ponders unhurriedly
What eternity’s next move might be.
From the soon to be released in February book, Beyond the Flaming Sword, poems of Life from Eden to the Cross.