by Sr. Ann Swailes
“The soldiers struck him rudely, and he fell several times”.
The first time and the third, one gets the thing. Too readily perhaps. Our clichés tug and shriek
Where hush would more befit a dying God, and yet our quest for comfort makes us speak
Or else we veil our heart-stunned silence and our stupid doubt within abstraction, figuring, and trim
Enumeration of our sacraments. First fall: that’s like confession, and the last, that’s him
Prostrating at the altar wrought from gallows by his glance.
But this unpatterning of pattern, this pointless mid-point, repetitious, shapeless dance
Partnered by dirt and shame, of wobbling feet on dizzy sun-stabbed dust, as down he folds again.
Squaddies drum bored fingers at the halt, flick innuendo at the tribes he made
To light their nations. It makes no sense. His ragged limbs can’t stand. Omnipotence lies powerless, limp, and splayed.
What rubric could encapsulate this pain?
What liturgy could make this horror sing?
Only the eternal work of holy love, that brings the Mind of God to sup
And drink his people’s chaos every spring,
And, stumbling with us, thereby raise us up.