Red – an Easter poem

I wrote this poem in 2008 at our church’s Tenebrae service as I reflected on the Bible readings about what Jesus endured on the cross and what that meant for me. I hope it is a blessing to you as you reflect on these things this Easter.


 

Red was the blood

that flowed

through his veins –

flesh and bone,

God and Spirit.

 

Red was the blood

that dripped from

his head – droplets

of anguish and

anticipated agony.

 

Red was the blood

that splattered ‘cross

his back after

endless lashings.

 

Red was the blood

that trickled down

his face,

past eyes that

saw the world

and loved.

 

Red was the blood

that poured from his side,

punctuating the torment and

darkening the sky.

 

Red was the blood

that spilled from hands and feet

as, with Life’s

last breath,

they pushed and strained

for air.

 

Red was the blood

on the hands

of soldiers –

naïve at first but

beginning to see

the one who hung

dead.

 

Red is the blood

that covers me

from head to toe,

painting beauty and holiness

with strokes of white.

 

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My Mother’s Feet

I looked over at my mother’s feet.

Hardened. Calloused. Cracking heels.

My teenage mind thought it was gross.

How could she let her feet get like that? I wondered. Doesn’t she know there are things you can do to keep them nice?

Every now and then my sister and I would give her foot spas, pumice off the dry skin, paint her toenails.

She would gladly indulge us.

And then her feet would return to their usual state.

 


My mother’s feet have always been busy.

And I don’t mean she travelled very far. But she always seemed to be doing something…

Jumping up to get Dad his medication.

Running outside to get the washing in before the rain hit.

Skipping rope on the front lawn at dawn, because that was the only time she could find to exercise, and the only flat patch of grass on our block.

Running along the beach chasing our “pocket rocket” dog, Max.

To-ing and fro-ing across the worn kitchen tiles, feeding hungry mouths.

Standing up the front of church singing.

 


I looked down at my own feet the other day.

Dry. Hardened. Cracking around the sides.

Maybe I should do something about that, I thought.

Get some of the dry skin off, soften them up with some cream, paint the nails a nice colour…

But then I remembered that with these feet I can run barefoot across our backyard in 5 seconds flat to get to a screaming child.

And I don’t mind dashing up the driveway in the rain because I can hear the garbage truck coming and I forgot to put the bin out.

And I can climb into the olive tree to rescue a stranded toddler.

 


I look down at my feet.

My dry, hardened, beautiful, practical feet.

And I see my mother’s feet.

And I am so thankful that they are mine.

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Empty

This is a poem I wrote last year when I was struggling with my milk supply, among other breastfeeding issues. There’s nothing quite like the torment of being your baby’s only source of nutrition and not being able to provide that! (Yes, I did try formula – several times. He wouldn’t take it.)

I wrote this poem as I reflected on the spiritual dimension of my struggles. I wasn’t ready to share back when I wrote it because it was all too sensitive. I was thinking about trying to finish it, to give more “resolution”. But I’ve decided to leave it as is. Because we don’t always get answers to prayer immediately. And sometimes there are periods of really wrestling with faith, and no resolution in sight.


 

His furious face nuzzles my breast,

Searching

Searching

But

Finding not.

Dried up,

My hope is

Gone.

Father, where are you?

Where streams of living

Milk

Once flowed

Now only soft barrenness remains. 

I see you little one,

How I long to fill you,

To see you satisfied,

But there you remain,

Empty,

Mad,

We are exhausted.

I send up desperate cries,

Searching,

Searching for faith but

Finding  not.

Longing to be filled –

My breasts and my heart –

But remaining empty.

 

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