The Mary Poems, Part Four

THE MARY POEM: PART FOUR

FISHERWOMAN

The wife of Zebedee mends the nets–

her hands as rough as a fisherman’s hands.

My husband is too old, she says,

to go in the boat alone.

It is a wondrous thing, she says,

to go in a boat at night.

My sons will not return, she says,

and cuts a cord with her yellow teeth.

Our sons will not return.

But then she laughs and ties her knots:

They’ve promised me a golden crown.

AFTER SUPPER

My firstborn took my bread in his hands,

blessed it and tore it and gave it his name.

My bread, in my mouth, the flesh of my child.

And we sang, and the men went out.

After they had gone, we washed the plates and bowls and swept the room.

When there was nothing left in there,  I came out here to watch the moon.

She is empty.

A white hole in the sky.

I am a hole in earth.

Once I held the waters–oceans, rivers, the fountains and wells, every drop of dew–

Now I am empty.

Now I have done.

CRUCIFIXION

Forgive?

My son.

Fruit of my womb.

They condemned, betrayed and nailed–

my son,

my firstborn son.

Forgive?  Forgive?

Rebels gasp on their crosses,

soldiers kneel in the dust

tossing dice for the tunic–

can their mothers

forgive?

My son hangs

and promises paradise

to innocents duped by power,

and

here I stand.

You, Herod.

You, Pilate.

You, Chief Priest and Council,

all timid and zealous for your laws–

I curse

your laws.

I curse your power.

You.

By all the blood that women bleed,

by all the screams,

by all the fear and bruising,

by water and fire and stone,

by Adam’s skull,

this ground filling and filling

with blood–

The heavens are silent.

His Father in heaven

is silent.

Or he is dead.

It is all the same.

But I have spoken.

I thirst, but not for wine,

hunger, but not for bread.

Once I magnified eternity,

now nothing

but ravage and wrong.

My son.

Our body, broken.

All the wine is sour.

All the water, salt.

NIGHT

So many nights I have watched with the moon;

so many times, alone.

The moon is too silver, too bright.

Earth

should not be so beautiful.

The olive blossoms

should not smell so sweet.

The wind should not

touch my face so softly,

so softly.

LEAVEN

In my dark house

I am making bread.

We shall go to the tomb

when the cock crows in the garden,

when the sun has pushed aside the stone.

2 comments on “The Mary Poems, Part Four

  1. For some reason, wordpress won’t allow me to format at all. Sorry about that. Imagine these as several different poems, with actual stanzas here and there.

  2. Chris says:

    This is so powerful, so lovely, so sad. Truly inspired, Mary.

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