Yesterday's Maundy Thursday poem was written three years ago. This one came to me last night, during the Maundy Watch - always a powerful time of prayer and image.
Is it here, God, in this garden
where the light wind stirs the leaves
silvered in the hard blue moonlight
- is it here that we must struggle
in the dialogue of self with self?
But the words are hardly spoken
when the vast and swelling ache
- a kind of joy, but of such sharpness
that I gasp, and words are stilled -
of the God so close within me
grows and self is marginalised,
pushed towards the edge of being
so that all I know is Him.
In this sudden fiery knowledge
friends who cannot understand
seem ephemeral and tiny –
Pray, I tell them, watch and pray,
as it comes upon me fiercely
that the end is here, this night,
that the God I carry in me
brooks no shrinking from this goal.
Now my soft palms spread in pleading
look so gentle, feel so dear
and this vulnerable body
breathes and weeps in dread of pain,
till the world turns and the strangers
bring this night watch to its close
and the brother’s kiss of greeting
a last gentle touch of love.