Seeking Paschal Triduum

At Golgotha’s foot
we gathered to describe the
destruction of Peace.
Eight of us, the true disciples,
committed to clarifying
details, merging perspectives.

Six said He was
whipped and burned,
naked and bruised.
Arms outstretched,
a Holy weathervane,
dead and discarded.

Naked? I said, sensing
variance of views. I’d seen torn
fabric dangle at waist; albeit flesh
toned, but present. Another had
caught glimpse of the Flesh of
all flesh, though acknowledged the
fabricated efforts to conceal.

Ours was a silence-breaking offense.
He must have been naked!
said the second. As our Lord entered,
so he exited! Shouts of concurrence rose,
unsettled roars of the growing herd.

Myself and the other stood
our ground, positive of His
concealment. This man was greater!
we cried. He died incarnate in what He
knew! He was covered, as are we!

Hours blurred and lines
were drawn. At the onset, our parties
held hope of obsoletion. But as
we acrobats developed
peculiarity-dependent theologies,
polarizing our packs, hope drowned
in Lethe. Resolute,
the implacable differences
taught us Hatred in our parting.

Mine and I had travelled six months South
when we first heard of the books. Four, friends
of our foes, had transcribed the tale,
describing Him as whipped and burned,
naked and bruised. Canonized, these
impugnable histories, these
bedmates of bridle.

I, the wandering Jew, have lived
to see the proliferation of opinion,
the merging of perspective and Fact.
I, now heretic,
have experienced the power of
the written Word (curse its
unsparing conquests!).
I, the lowly,
am deemed incapable
of insight.

Yet I remain ardent
among the faithful,
who entrench themselves
in truth.

Author’s Notes:
(1) The title, Paschal Triduum, refers to the three day period between the Lord’s Supper and the Resurrection of Jesus.
(2) ‘Lethe’ is the name of a river that runs through Hades (according to Greek mythology). Also known as the ‘river of forgetfulness,’ the souls of the dead were required to drink from it, causing them to forget their previous lives.
(3) The “wandering Jew” is a figure from medieval Christian folklore, who was said to have taunted Jesus on the way to the crucifixion, and for it was cursed to roam the Earth until the Second Coming. In the context of this poem, one need not worry about the taunting; the important point is that the wandering Jew is said to have been present at the crucifixion and remains alive to this day.


3 responses to “Seeking Paschal Triduum

  1. I always wonder why poets divide lines where they do, but maybe it’s because I’m reading this on my iPhone. I think you are saying that the crucifixion is something seen from different perspectives and that we all bring our upbringing and cultural biases to the foot of the cross. Am I on the right track?

  2. It seems like you’re trying to say that there are different ways to view Christ and his sacrifice. I’m not sure who the voice is in the first section.

  3. Thanks for your visit Dave … and for the searching in this work. One might say that Lethe’s poison flows most freely in our individual assertions that our own version of truth is the only possible reality … in our forgetting wider truths than our own.

    We’re all both wanderers and chosen. Wonderers too and therefore necessarily “heretic” at times. And when our “truth” is written off by others – even if they’re convinced that they’re the only Real witnesses to good news – we must remain ardent, distinct and wandering still in the company of others’ certainties.

    Our own flesh, our own naked humanity is glimpsed on Golgotha. There we see that there’s no “must” about anything. “Shouts of concurrence” may be, indeed, just the noise of a herd. Better to wander, better to wonder, better to place our hope in being The Body of Christ now on earth, who remains largely silent. Better to reflect on His Risen Word for a feminine (and missionary) love. “Noli me tangere” – “do not cling”.

    Keep writing. Keep faithing. Keep in touch 🙂

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