Via Crucis- Stations of the Cross

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(Church of the Flagellation- 20/9/2010;

photo by Berthold Werner)

 

I have produced my own Stations of the Cross– fourteen in number,

which is traditional.  However, I have omitted the three ‘stumblings’

and Veronica.  I think I follow recent Roman Catholic editing on

some of this.

The Atonement is my focus and so I have not made the last Station

into a Resurrection.  I think that would be more of a Via Lucis.

( I am not a Roman Catholic, so feel that I can be more independent in

my artistic endeavour.)  I don’t start with Gethsemane, or The Last

Supper, or Judas’ betrayal, or Peter’s denial.  My idea was to concentrate

on 14 episodes in the narrative and I tried to find the quintessence of

the moment by creating 14 lunes, a variation on a poetic form invented

by Robert Kelly, which I have read about.  I use 3-5-3 syllables, so my stanzas

are very condensed and intense.  ( Kelly uses 5-3-5)

Anyway, see what you think:

 

I

Then Pilate

delivered Jesus

to the crowd.

 

II

 

The soldiers

stripped Him; mocked Him with

a thorn crown.

 

III

 

And Simon,

the Cyrenian,

bore His cross.

 

IV

 

He walked:

two malefactors

beside Him.

 

V

 

O Daughters

of Jerusalem,

weep no more.

 

VI

 

He refused

wine, mingled with myrrh,

though thirsty.

 

VII

 

Pilate placed

‘King of the Jews’

above Him.

 

VIII

 

Chief priests,

scribes and elders mocked

Him: Come down!

 

IX

 

His clothing

was divided up,

into lots.

 

X

 

Jesus said:

John, take good care of

my mother.

 

XI

 

He then drank

vinegar and gall

from a sponge.

 

XII

 

His head bowed;

He gave up the ghost.

It’s over.

(Jesus on the cross, St Raphael’s Cathedral,

Dubuque, Iowa. Feb 2006. Jesster 79- Commons Wiki)

 

XIII

 

His side, once

speared, issued forth blood

and water.

 

XIV

 

Taken down,

Joseph had Him placed

in his tomb.

 

Bedford Book of Hours- Tower of Babel

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(Wikipaedia.  Image British Library)

 

Reach the sky!

Speak in many tongues,

future king!

 

(a gift for the 9 year old future Henry VI

from The Duchess, in 1430)

 

Upon Westminster Bridge

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March 22nd,2017

Earth has not shown anything more evil;

traumatised all those who would stumble by

a sight so shocking in its travesty.

This city, plunged in darkness, drew a veil

on those who ventured out to breathe, to live:

now still on bloodied pavements.  Strangers try

to open airways; paramedics cry.

Parliament questions what it can achieve.

Daylight was to rise on a new carnage.

Someone denied his humanity

yet, as has been said, in the old adage:

there’s nothing new at all. Profanity

ever explodes in pointless destruction,

but somehow, with more violence, in our age.

A Sestina on Sisera

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Jacopo Amigoni 002.jpg

Image of Jael and Sisera: Jacopo Amigoni

(poem based on a story from Judges 4 and 5, Old

Testament)

 

 

Deborah knew at once what was at stake.

Ha!  You need me to take you by the hand?

she mocked Barack.  The affiliation

of your name is to ‘lightning’, but your shame

is that you are slow to break oppression,

without female help.  Such violation

 

of masculinity!  Violation

of Israelite wombs is, in fact, at stake.

To overcome King Jabin’s oppression,

you need to muster all your troops and hand

out revenge to those charioteers: Shame

to those with a Baal affiliation.

 

Ignore the Hebites’ affiliation-

their Canaanite trade a violation,

supplying tin weaponry, to their great shame,

but, when the battle chips are down, I stake

my bet that they will show their true hand

and will side with us against oppression.

 

When Sisera, burdened with oppression,

entered Jael’s tent, her affiliation

was clear and she had a weapon to hand.

She wanted no stain of violation

on her honour; she knew what was at stake.

In war, she knew deceit would bring no shame.

 

Sisera knew he would be mired in shame,

just like his chariot wheels.  Oppresssion

of spirit made him sleep.  Jael took the stake;

struck the blow; showed her affiliation.

What of the projected violation

of Israelite women?..  Leaning her  hand

 

on a lattice, a mother’s lined hand

steadied her, when the news of her son’s shame

arrived.  (No delay through violation,

feasting, celebration of oppression.)

Now she must change her affiliation:

her own life and reputation at stake.

 

Jael avenged oppression. By her own hand,

she avoided violation and shame:

at stake the Kenites’ affiliation.