On this Good Friday, following up on the recent Holy Week Meditation, I’d like to offer two poems that resonate with key themes for meditation.
The first poem is about being in the most frightening, painful, and despairing of moments in life. It is about those moments when all looks so bleak that we cannot see any way out that doesn’t threaten us to our very core. It is about our own passages through the Passion.
Becoming the Unknown
This is the dark whirling dance;
No pretty songs to twirl upon,
But groaning, pining whines
For the spirit of merciful redemption
Grinding upon the bloody stones
Of judgment’s unbridled execution.
Oh, Peace, where is your sweet breath?
No one kisses with your cool lips
Or embraces with your gentle arms.
The gifts of friendship and relief
Fall around your feet as autumn leaves
Driven down in cold merciless rains.
Harmony, I cannot find you in this fog,
Just the groping, tripping gate
Of feet clumsy with confused intentions;
Grimy, unwelcomed, mixed motives
Twisting haunted howls of confusion
Around this burning blistered tongue.
Compassion, why play hide and seek?
If you charged into this dream
You might share your fruits so freely,
But you sulk in stinking corners
Of ugly self-pity and self-loathing –
These seeping self-inflicted wounds.
Rebirth, is blood truly the price to be paid?
Flesh and heart and soul rendered
Into a stew for the feast of laughing gods?
Shall lightning bolts of betrayal
Illuminate this ancient melodrama,
This tragedy played out heedless of these tears?
Here it is, the present fact of life’s strange song:
Lonesome, hopeful circling,
Casting about for a hidden mooring
In the throes of nature’s raging storm,
Churning gut and mind beyond nausea
Within the swirl of becoming the unknown.
The second poem is about the promise of rebirth, but a rebirth that will not fully come until we stop clinging to what must pass.
Even under clouds of angst and confusion,
scourged by guilt and pierced by remorse,
with thorns of shame encircling our minds,
and the bitter cup of betrayal at our lips,
grace awaits all surrendering souls,
not in a bargain struck by compliance,
but in the gentle joyful awakening
of foolish resistance finally falling away.
In this moment, right here, right now,
at the intersection of body and spirit,
in the mingling of darkness and light,
we participate in the mystery of crucifixion
where the flower of life is ever blooming.
Look! The precious petals are unfolding!
O Living One, help us accept the cross of our existence, transform our own suffering into compassion for the suffering of others, and thus welcome the eternal rebirth of every moment.