Stations of The Cross 2010

Jesus Falls A Second Time


I stumble and the outcast wood
strikes me on the ear
and all the street's liveliness retreats;
I see them shouting but I cannot hear.
Was ever sound so sweet
as now in the claustrophobic gloom,
dead, closed as the tomb?
I sometimes wondered when they brought a poor, deaf soul to me
if he might have been better without curses
and mean speech
but then I thought of the song of the wind in the trees,
the chant of the water on the pebbled beach,
the birds in the reeds
and, above all, the lullaby and the hurdy-gurdy.
I could watch the words
but I liked to hear the sound
of the intonation of a penitential psalm
and feel blood racing as Pharaoh's chariots drowned.
They walk jerkily,
as if looking round corners.
I have passed from a truculent sedition
into a dumb beast,
beaten past cognition.
Simon makes a sign that says
there is no more time,
movement is the only way to stem the blows.
I rise, shakily without a sense of balance,
amazed by the chaos of movement
robbed of its sense in silence.
"Up! Get up!"
I hear through the fog of bloody pounding.
"What! are you deaf, or something?"
The movements fall into patterns,
jerking limbs take on a sense of shape.
Better the cursing than the silence,
better the knowledge than the silent fear.
Was that you calling?
Yes, I thought it was.
I can hear.


enfolds me, and the world serene
sends me to prophets chanting in a wordless dream.
Silence lends intensity to their rocky faces,
hewn from the adversity of wild places,
etched with exile.
John was like that, always waiting for something,
always just thrown out of somewhere,
hammering to get back in.
You could guess the words from his arms
and the look on his listeners' faces,
short, sharp phrases
of sin and begin,
relent and repent,
die for the end is nigh.
Judaism is a worship of silence,
not enough to hear,
not enough to say,
more like a mantra than   a drama.
I brace myself against a pillar
to bring words back:
I have had enough of the stark endeavour.
I have brought gracious music
and the sound of laughter and sweet words
instead of ashes to the altar.
The interlude ends in a burst of swearing,
a fair price for the beauty of sound.
I can hear the passion climbing in front of me,
wave upon wave of shallow rant,
a fair price for the heavenly chorus.
But amid the discord of the ragged chant,
I hear a bell ringing in a chandler's shop,
the hiss of beans poured from a sack into a measuring pan,
the clink of the weights in the silversmith's
and, oh, the laugh of secret love
after a secret kiss
behind a curtain.
I healed them for my Father
but I healed them for this,
to hear the world's torment and the world's bliss.