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    Detail from James Tissot,The Sorrowful Mother (Mater Dolorosa)

    Three Poems for Good Friday

    Christina Rossetti, John Masefield, Anonymous

    April 16, 2014
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    • Paul

      Three very moving poems with very different perspectives. I found The Rood speaks particularly powerful,

    • Andy Wilson

      Luke 18: 24 - how hard it is for the wealthy to enter the kingdom of God ! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. But - verse 27 - what is impossible for men is possible for God. I do what Jesus bids in Matt 7:7 I knock in faith and pray for him to open the door.

    • rachel mosley

      knowing God is the best thing that can make things come true in the prayers that goes up to God trust him for everything and you will over come your troubles give him thanks for his love is eternal for ever a men

    From “The Everlasting Mercy”
    John Masefield

    O Christ who holds the open gate,
    O Christ who drives the furrow straight,
    O Christ, the plough, O Christ, the laughter
    Of holy white birds flying after,
    Lo, all my heart’s field red and torn,
    And Thou wilt bring the young green corn
    The young green corn divinely springing,
    The young green corn forever singing;
    And when the field is fresh and fair
    Thy blessèd feet shall glitter there,
    And we will walk the weeded field,
    And tell the golden harvest’s yield,
    The corn that makes the holy bread
    By which the soul of man is fed,
    The holy bread, the food unpriced,
    Thy everlasting mercy, Christ.

     

    From “The Dream of the Rood”
    Anglo-Saxon, 8th century, trans. Richard Hammer (1970)
    The earliest Christian poem in English

    The Rood (cross of Christ) speaks:

    “It was long past – I still remember it –
    That I was cut down at the copse’s end,
    Moved from my root. Strong enemies there took me,
    Told me to hold aloft their criminals,
    Made me a spectacle. Men carried me
    Upon their shoulders, set me on a hill,
    A host of enemies there fastened me.

    “And then I saw the Lord of all mankind
    Hasten with eager zeal that He might mount
    Upon me. I durst not against God’s word
    Bend down or break, when I saw tremble all
    The surface of the earth. Although I might
    Have struck down all the foes, yet stood I fast.

    “Then the young hero (who was God almighty)
    Got ready, resolute and strong in heart.
    He climbed onto the lofty gallows-tree,
    Bold in the sight of many watching men,
    When He intended to redeem mankind.
    I trembled as the warrior embraced me.
    But still I dared not bend down to the earth,
    Fall to the ground. Upright I had to stand.

    “A rood I was raised up; and I held high
    The noble King, the Lord of heaven above.
    I dared not stoop. They pierced me with dark nails;
    The scars can still be clearly seen on me,

    The open wounds of malice. Yet might I
    Not harm them. They reviled us both together.
    I was made wet all over with the blood
    Which poured out from his side, after He had
    Sent forth His spirit. And I underwent
    Full many a dire experience on that hill.
    I saw the God of hosts stretched grimly out.
    Darkness covered the Ruler’s corpse with clouds
    His shining beauty; shadows passed across,
    Black in the darkness. All creation wept,
    Bewailed the King’s death; Christ was on the cross….

    “Now you may understand, dear warrior,
    That I have suffered deeds of wicked men
    And grievous sorrows. Now the time has come
    That far and wide on earth men honor me,
    And all this great and glorious creation,
    And to this beacon offers prayers. On me
    The Son of God once suffered; therefore now
    I tower mighty underneath the heavens,
    And I may heal all those in awe of me.
    Once I became the cruelest of tortures,
    Most hateful to all nations, till the time
    I opened the right way of life for men.”

     

    Good Friday
    Christina Rossetti

    Am I a stone, and not a sheep,
    That I can stand, O Christ, beneath Thy cross,
    To number drop by drop Thy blood’s slow loss,
    And yet not weep?

    Not so those women loved
    Who with exceeding grief lamented Thee;
    Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly;
    Not so the thief was moved;

    Not so the Sun and Moon
    Which hid their faces in a starless sky,
    A horror of great darkness at broad noon –
    I, only I.

    Yet give not o’er,
    But seek Thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock;
    Greater than Moses, turn and look once more
    And smite a rock.

    jesusoncrossJT “Jesus Alone on the Cross,” detail, by James Tissot
    Related Article Poem for Good Friday – by John Donne Read
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