Splendor of magnolia,
Of pale purple
Tell of tenderness.
Jesus to Peter,
Do you love me?
Repeated, echoed 400 times
On the one
Five feet around:
Space enough for 3 apostles standing,
some fish on a fire.
I walk in wonder.
In buds, in birds,
Surges from the tomb,
And all around me,
From earth and
sky and wind and water
The call reverberates,
Do you love
Then comes the tempest;
The tender blooms are
Hurled upon each other.
After the fray
I see a beaten
Nothing is left of
Nuanced pink and purple.
On the ground
Torn petals and sticks
As remains of a fire would be.
been blown and buffeted,
And the whine of the wind
I think so --
I want to.
-- Sr. Matthias Michels, OP
The Women of the Last Supper
Definitely there, behind the scenes,
they worked as
for the event they had not been invited
certainly their work
was invited, their good food, its warm
smells. Their hair like gleaming
rags rubbed the table to a glassy
which reflected on that night of nights
the invited men
watching, the cup,
the bread, raised high. But that was later,
When the women arrived it was
daybreak and light poured everywhere
in the Upper Room, as they poured flour
through a sieve eleven times.
herbs, snakeroot and chicory, sat soaking;
spiced fruit was peeled
for puree. They
knew the rules of this occasion, and worked
unison without the need to speak,
as water from the well was brought
fell upon the walls and floor in a cleansing
splash. The room sat
early washed and
waiting, for the sun and wind to do their
their part in preparation, these
spirits of the sky; not invited, but also
-- Jessica Maich
Friday, 3 p.m.
At 3 oclock on that Friday afternoon, Jesus, the
man from Nazareth, the God from God, died:
Dead was the body labored
from his mothers womb and adored by the
the body that was
immersed by John in the Jordan,
that was transfigured on the high
that fell prostrate in the Garden.
Drained were the cheeks
kissed by his mother and by Judas.
Limp were the arms that reached out to
his mother from the manger,
that wrapped around Mary and Martha in their
Lifeless were the hands stroked by his parents as they fled to
that touched and cured the untouchable leper,
that shared the
bread, his body, at the Last Supper.
Closed were the eyes that were aware of
the hungry thousands on the hillside,
that spotted Zaccheus in the
that could not bear to see the Temple used for profit.
the lips that spoke Abba to Joseph and to Yahweh,
that read and
sang in the synagogue,
that laughed with friends.
Silent was the voice
that taught the Beatitudes and told
unforgettable stories of seeds and
sowers, shepherds and sheep,
prodigal sons, and good Samaritans;
voice that commanded the seas to be calm and demons to be gone;
whispered to the adulterous woman that she was not condemned.
Limp were the
legs that formed a lap that cradled the children,
the knees that bent to the
floor to wash the disciples feet.
Motionless were his own feet that
once walked on water,
that crisscrossed Galilee, Samaria, and Judea from
city to town, lake to
river, grove to desert to proclaim Good News.
completely [empty] was Jesus that he became [the]
perfect vessel on
Easter morning for the fullness of Gods life in
which we share. Amen.
-- Paul Homer
West Hempstead, N.Y.
Spring comes insistently.
How dare it arrive as it
Days breaking early,
Bulbs thrusting green
points from cold soil,
Red buds bursting from maple bark?
has died. I am desolate, widowed.
Yet Spring returns as ever,
acknowledging his death,
Not detouring respectfully around me in my
Spring easters into my bereavement,
Blowing light, warmth,
birdsong right past me,
Brushing against me abrasively, carelessly,
Forcing me to decide:
Do I brace myself against it, hold it out?
Or do I
let Spring in?
-- Virginia L. Collins English
The Woman of the Altar Linens
If she could have, she would have washed
the death shroud of Jesus
to leave it for the mourning women to find,
but an earlier angel had to do that.
She refolds soiled altar linens in
disappears behind its sanctuary wall
and then reappears
with the mornings linens,
to place them as if within the cave.
They do not have the sweet spill smell
of wine from evening Mass, as his
must have had the aroma of burial --
the spices and scented oils
of Magdalene --
but of tumble dry and steam iron press
and the gentle
fold of her angelic hands.
-- Chet Corey
2001 in Poetry
2000 in Poetry
1999 in Poetry
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National Catholic Reporter, April 13, 2001