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Jesus the Homeless
Jesus the Homeless, bronze sculpture by Timothy Schmalz
Regis College, the University of Toronto.
“I hear the whisperings of many: “Terror on every side! Denounce! let us denounce him!”
Jeremiah 20:10

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Why do you not believe me?

Have I not wept
as, lost and empty
you cried out in the night?

I shed bitter tears
when at last you fell
and did not arise.

I’ll breath my anguish
and fire your still heart
with my passion.

What more can I do for you
than die?

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Consoling Martha

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Freely flow her fears;
a dam so brimful
cannot contain
such towering waves.

Wondering that
my words fail
to give peace,
I reach out
and take her trembling hands.

Tearful,
I brush away
all her
bitter tears

(13 April 2011)

Beautiful Cellars

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‘No clock: only the Heart’s blood. Only the word.”

“I think poetry must,
I think it must,
Stay open all night
In beautiful cellars” Thomas Merton, A Book of Hours

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High round windows
over wide glass doors
fill with night;

The world’s gone to black,
to void,
to nothing.

Can you hear your whispering blood?
– surge of surf, wind in dark trees
alive – alive –

so arise now and go
down the noisy steps
to the beautiful cellar,

to the poetry.

(18 March 2013)

The Sadness of Holy Saturday

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Through the moonless night
clouds choke receding light

and the world descends
into darkness.

Where are you
as winter’s chill pierces my hands?

Oh, where have you gone?

Do you not care that I decay
without your gentle breath,
that without your light
I wane like the failing sun?

Why have you abandoned me?

Through my tears I see
two millenia of agony,
the six million slain,
all the fallen generations
newly free, heavy nails
at last released.

(for James Foley)

Passion in the Garden

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In the long, empty night
I hear your song.

Longing I seek
but can only see
my own dying face
in shattered glass
and piercing steel.

I tremble in fear.
O, where have you gone?

Sing me again your soaring love-song

and show me the way,
for night’s a thin wall
and death, a porous veil.

Holy Saturday

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Storms pass, winds subside
life abides.

See how the cottonwoods
spread new leaves,
fill the blank sky with
emerald sheen
as waving vines praise
the living spirit
of spring,

for soon the shrouded sun will flame
through constraining mists
and in glory rise to complete
this forgiven world
and set it free.

The Denial of St. Peter

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Caravaggio, The Denial of St. Peter

On the edge
hands clenched,
sad eyes downcast
bitter fear forcing tight his lips
he holds his breath

he pauses
as the angry finger
of the state
points at his throat,
hard eyes searching Peter’s
indecision
for rash conviction;

but she, she knows
has seen before
his adoring eyes, heard his
boastful voice
by the campfire
of the condemned.

Slowly he moves
toward the inevitable lie
as the bloody sun
stirs to song
the drowsy cock.