Saturday 14 June 2014

Christ Riding Into Jerusalem- A Poem

It was a triumph, of sorts.
A great rejoicing that bright day.
Under the sun that too soon set.

Beneath Him a colt, patient

And willing, itself a parable
For those, those few, who heed such things.

Pilgrims without pilgrim hearts

They thought that they had arrived
But pilgrimage never ceases.

City dwellers scorned these

Uncouth travellers, amused
And puzzled by their cries.

Son of David from Nazareth?

A small town Messiah for
Small town people.
Jerusalem knows better.

Palms in His path, tales and

Rumours of miracles in the air
And hopes of war and battle in
Minds of a conquered people.

His name was on every tongue

As He was on His colt
And the beast was wiser than the men.

In Bethany He had been anointed

For His death but who, in this mad crowd
Remembered that? Conquering
He would conquer. 

Victory Hosannas would soon be heard

So they supposed who saw their humble, 
Prophesied King.

In all that joyful throng, that joyful day,

Who could foresee that a victory cry
Would strangely resemble the weeping
Of a mother cradling her dear Son's corpse? 

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  1. Mmmm - narratively interesting, I always enjoy a good bit of foreshadowing and importantly doesn't at all rhyme, which is usually a massive improvement unless one is careful. Not being a first century Palestinian, I kept getting distracted by the fact that colts are usually scary American guns these days, but that could well just be me (except perhaps at: His name was on every tongue/
    As He was on His colt - which is a bit too literal in the second line to work). I liked 'Jerusalem knows better' and the politics of it. I like the arc of the end, but it's perhaps a little *too* goth in its execution - if you shade it back a bit it might have more power. Nice to have more to get teeth into than with the haikus.

    [Caveat: this from me, who writes a poem once in a blue moon, and then is always a little disappointed to find it not hailed as a work of total genius.]

    1. Thanks for the feedback. The colt is a reference back to the prophecy of Zechariah so it kind of has to stay for theological reasons. I fiddled around with the on tongues/on colt thing for a while and couldn't come up with a better arrangement but I'm sure its possible to do so. Arguably goth is a derivative of Catholic sensibility, anyway we do the Passion big and strong and I'm content with that, again for theological reasons.

  2. PS Have you been reading lots of Chesterton? - remind me what I'm being reminded of....

    1. Not read much Chesterton recently no. I'm not sure what your reminded off, it might be what George Harrison would have called unconcious plagiarism of something or other.

    2. Silly me - simply this:

  3. Nearly done! Yours is of course not any sort of plagiarism - but it *is* an emotional inversion of Chesterton's - in his, Palm Sunday is the centre of reality for a creature otherwise misunderstood by people who only see appearances - in yours, for the spectators at least, Palm Sunday is an appearance, which ignores more difficult realities elsewhere. So maybe he was sort of knocking about in the back of your head.