Poetic Reflections on Holy Week and Easter 2020

April 28, 2020 – These poems are reflections on Holy Week, the Triduum, and Easter 2020, written by Fr. Robert VerEcke, SJ.

Free For All
(Palm Sunday)

Another Holy Week
One like no other.
2020 vision’s
Blurred, bleary-eyed
scanning screens,
pads, phones. falderol.
in turbulent times.
2020 vision’s
Clouded, cataracted
Free falls,
Tears and tears the
Fabric of life.

An “other” Holy Week
Past, presents
2020 hindsight.
Last years ago?
Looking back,
Hosanna shouts
Palms waving
People processing
Passion proclaimed
Bread broken
Wine poured
Touching hands and hearts
Ritual fare and fair
Play for us
Who have recourse to You.

An “other” Holy Week
Now no Hosanna shoutouts
but shut ins, all.
Now no palms waving or
woven crosses but
waving from a distance,
with palms washed.
Now no processions down aisles
but isolated one from another
No Passion proclaimed
but now live, lived, livid.

(Purple is Passion’s color!)
Now no bread and wine
but bodies broken
And wine changed into watery tears
Sunt lacrimae rerum
Rare, yes,
once in a lifetime, one hopes,
tears for lives torn
Now no hands touch
but hearts, yes.
Now no ritual
except hand washing
Pilate wise
Now no Pilot but Christ
in his Passion.

Another Holy Week
One like no other
2020 vision
Far and near sighted
care filled, clear-eyed
from scanning
Hope’s horizon
2020’s vision
crowded, contracted,
One Love.
Free for All.

God's Free Day
Good Friday

I should have shunned this morning’s sunrise,
“Go back where you came from!”
What right have you to rise
shedding light rays cross sea and sky?
You should be shedding tears instead”
Who does Sun think he is?
Doesn’t he remember the day
when he refused to shine?
Wasn’t he there
when the world was shrouded in darkness?
Sun should be ashamed of shining this day!
Moon knows who she is.
Sun’s glare of day is spared at night.
Moon masks our mourning
She gives us just enough light
To carry on in this carrion time.

It was then as it is now
The Word’s flesh and blood
In the cross hairs of death and life
The world’s flesh and blood
In the cross hairs of contagion
A grave for one, a grief for some
Stabat mater, stoic John,
faithful women, flighty men
petrified Peter.
Graves for many, a grief for all
A world awash in tears
The moon is more in tune with tears
than sun, basking in bravado.

I should have shunned sun’s shining,
but, no, I could not turn away
even on this, Good Friday
It was stunning, you see
as every day when it dares to rise and remind us of another Rising
against all odds and even
in this carrion time
to carry on
in hope and not despair
and here and now
hear voices of the past,
those witnesses of
death’s defeat and life’s victory
calling today,
God’s Free Day

Easter Sunday

I Dare Not Ask
if You are “truly” Risen
as You said.
The question belies belief.
But how believe
when all are stranded now
all islands,
A parting is simply sorrow
Not sweet at all.

I Dare Not Ask
if You are “truly” Risen
when graves are all too
All for one and one for all
loved ones, side-lined

Am I gravely mistaken
or is there evidence
to the contrary?
If a single strand of hair
can tell a tale of who
and how and where
we’ve come from,
can we find a strand of here and now,
double helix of hope and healing
that tells the tale of who
and how and where
You’ve come from and
Are now?

I Dare Not Ask
The “how” of your rising.
The “who” and “why” we know.
A Strand of Love, double helix
Jacob’s ladder, ascending and descending,
Jesus’ Spiral
turning and returning.

I Dare Not Assume
A “Happy” Easter
when strands of sorrow
stretch a Cross,
the world’s horizon.
Would Hope-yEaster
Serve us better,
Be the leaven,
The light at the end of the tunnel?
A peek of sun
A peep of Alleluia
Belief in Your rising
Is In my DNA

Second Sunday of Easter

Spring is here, they say
But you could fool me.
This day chills to the bones
like the daily news that is not
new, nor good.
This bone-chilling cold and rain
says “stay inside” not out of doors,
locked for fear of life.
confined for dear life,
Where’s hope behind closed doors?
This soul-chilling day makes one
recoil from Spring’s promises
recalling what once was
upon a Springtime,
flowers flourishing
trees re-leaving
people parading
lining streets with cheer and
cheers for chariots of fire,
those marathon marvels,
wheeling or self-propelling
towards the finish line.
Such wealth, common  in Spring’s time!
Recalling what once was.
recoiling from what now is I ask,
Is this a marathon we’re running?
Now a new Heart-break Hill
where countless numbers climb,
short of breath, side-pierced
with stitches, not the laughing kind and
winding up with wounds,
wound and bound, hands and feet
wondering where’s the finish line
and crossing it

Easter is here, they say,
but you could fool me.
This Easter chills to the bones
like the daily news that is not
good nor new.
These cold-shouldered days
turn one’s insides out,
when lock up replaces
look up and out,
when there is no tender
to the touch.
Where’s joy behind closed doors?

Christ was here, they say
But you can’t fool me
This upper room chills me to the bones
Like a spring fall of snow,
not due till winter.
Had Christ appeared to them
would there not be room for
warmth and cheer and toasting
and touching?
And looking out from this lock up,
wouldn’t streets be lined
with crowds cheering on
life’s long-distance runner?
Better doubt than disappointment.

I Am, here, He says
And you can’t fool me.
Your wounds are mine,
wound together as we are
bound as one body, we are
My tender is love for you
and this wounded world.
Unless I touch your wounds,
you will not believe.
Show me your hands.
They fit like a glove in mine.
Show me your feet
and walk with me.
(No need to keep your distance.)
Show me your side pierced
with pain’s cutting edge
Don’t turn aside,
let me tender you
and we’ll finish the cross

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