On Sunsets and Sonnets

‘Tis now the final hour of the day,
And fading sunlight coats each thing in gold
As though a miser here did have his sway,
Commanding Nature give him things to hold.

‘Tis now the season for all things to live,
Since they’ve survived and winter winds have blown:
Spring’s gentle breezes laughing mirth now give,
As daffodils do make their presence known.

‘Tis now: and Time can make that “now” seem cruel,
Like Fortune’s wheel turning ever on:
One’s life unwinds before one like a spool,
A moment captured’s still a moment gone.

‘Tis now, and soon it shall no longer be;
Yet “now” continues on through poetry.

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Gloria in Excelsis

A single drape of sable tulle

Is placed upon the cross;

The altar’s stripped, the church is dark:

God’s people mourn their loss.

 

On Saturday, the candles’ flames

Set faces all aglow;

The world waits for “Alleluia:”

He’s risen- this we know.

 

Then Sunday morn, the lilies come,

Delighting every eye;

All’s been restored, sin’s trampled down,

And Death’s been made to die.

Villanelle for the Great Vigil

This is the day that silence stretches thin:

In loneliness creation’s groans do sound,

But very soon a new day will begin.

 

Betrayed, denied, and cursed by mocking din,

His cries of anguish echoed all around…

This is the day that silence stretches thin.

 

The crucified, salvation’s great lynchpin,

Brought darkness to above Golgotha’s mound;

But very soon a new day will begin.

 

His promise foolish- cleansing us from sin?

No god consents to be so tightly bound!

This is the day that silence stretches thin.

 

His spirit’s gone. All evil cheers their win.

Today his body lies in yonder ground,

But very soon a new day will begin.

 

Could time move on? Might life arise again?

The mysteries of heaven still resound…

This is the day that silence stretches thin,

But very soon a new day will begin.

Last Lullaby

Come down, come down, I’ll hold you close;

Now rest, O child of mine:

The thorns have stained your brow with blood,

Your lips are stained with wine.

 

Now rest, now rest, my firstborn son-

I weep to see you dead;

The blood and water from your side

Have dyed my sandals red.

 

I weep, I weep, for now I know

The fatal prophecy:

When steel nails pierced your wrists,

A sword did pierce through me.

Triduum Terza Rima

Mysteries commence on Thursday:

Second covenant arrives,

Second garden’s sorrowful way

 

Leads to Friday taking lives.

Dying, anguished, all-forsaken,

See how God for us now strives.

 

Holy Saturday is taken

By the creeping pace of Time.

Early morning, all awaken

 

For the Easter hymns sublime.

Then begins a new year over

With sanctification’s climb.

 

The Carpenter’s Son

Every day his feet are sore from walking.

Every day his dust-choked throat is dry.

Every day he prays before the sunrise,

Interceding for the hearts that cry.

 

Everyday: his clothes, his speech, his family.

Everyday: he stays near his small town.

Everyday: he seems so ordinary,

Yet some say if we knew, we’d kneel down.

 

Soon the day shall come when he is stricken,

Soon the day shall come when all is lost,

Soon the day shall come when he is murdered,

By friends and by the Romans double-crossed.

 

But for now, he takes a final rest-day,

But for now, he laughs with all his friends,

But for now, at his side Mary’s staying,

That Silent Wednesday “everyday” now ends.

Sonnet from a Sermon

O Pharisees, O scribes and teachers, woe!

You choose the steps that lead men from the path;

You fools would shut out honest men! And lo,

When dying, you shall see the LORD in wrath!

O Pharisees, who, tempted by men’s gold,

Do wrongly swear e’en as you rightly tithe!

You make the Word of God obscuring fold,

Neglect the faith, and lead the blind as guides!

O Pharisees, O scribes and teachers, fear!

In cleaning shallowly, I see your dooms:

You ask yourselves, “How well shall we appear,”

You whitewashed, moldy, crowded, corpse-filled tombs!

O Pharisees, you snakes! You viper’s brood!

Your lips repent; your hands are soaked in blood!

Sestina for the Final Days

Christ’s great entry leaves us hopeful,

Welcoming the end of waiting-

Roman rage will soon be hopeless,

Soon the empire will be falling!

Mannish kingdoms have all ended,

Joy’s new morning finally rising.

 

At the temple- anger rising,

Zealous Christ seems quite un-hopeful,

Now that so-called peace he’s ended.

Worshippers, confused, are waiting,

As the cages clamor, falling;

Whip’s loud snap makes profit hopeless.

 

“Pharisaic laws are hopeless,”

Claims the Christ, whose star is rising,

As the teachers plot his falling-

Crouching lions ever hopeful,

For the perfect moment waiting-

As he speaks of world that’s ended.

 

Silent Wednesday: preaching ended.

Lazarus no longer hopeless,

Sisters resurrection waiting-

From their dwelling Christ is rising.

Followers are acting hopeful,

Unaware of future falling.
Final supper: doom is falling,

Traitor’s kiss a friendship ended.

“Watch with me:” the three were hopeful,

Hours rendered them all hopeless

Sheep to slaughter- terror rising,

Jury for the trial waiting.

 

His last breath: the world is waiting.

Into Hell Creator falling,

One thief’s mocking laughter rising,

Now that Love’s own life has ended.

Shrouded, buried, all seems hopeless.

God is dead: can we be hopeful?
At his rising, weeping ended.

He, in falling, saved the hopeless;

Now in waiting we are hopeful.