How sore your grief, Mary,
as you hold the cold and lifeless body of your son
(once warm with beating heart in your own womb)
all bloodied now by death,
and cradle in your arms for one last time
him whom you so often held upon your breast.

Sharing in his pain and passion,
you looked on in agony
as the hands that clung as infant’s around your neck
and those feet that pattered long ago about the cozy home in Nazareth
were cruelly wrenched and nailed fast.

I wonder:

Had you spoken in quiet hours together 
of the prophecies and their mysteries?
Had you – with motherly intuition –
read your son’s heart and the shadow that hung over him?
In your nights of pondering,
did you gather strength for this inevitable day?

And now, with a mother’s knowing heart,
can you perceive that this stiffening form upon your lap
(a piece of torn humanity that tabernacles divinity within)
will soon breathe again 
and brim and pulse with life,
all gloriously transfigured?

Looking through the darkness there at Golgotha,
do you already see in your mind’s eye
the new dawn promised in three days’ time
and tremble to feel again your child’s glad embrace?

O wait no longer, Mary,
to entrust him to the grave!
Surrender your son now to Joseph’s tomb,
that he might rest awhile from the battle bravely fought
and then descend to death’s domain
to claim from Satan there
the victory so hard won for us.

Copyright © 1998, 2003 by Jeanne Kun

Top image:  Pietà, by El Greco, 1578 and 1585, Stavros Niarchos Collection, Paris. In the public domain. Source from Wikimedia Commons.

From the series: Awakened to Eternity: A spiritual journey of poems reflecting on the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, by Jeanne Kun

Follow links to other poems in this series:

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