Monday, April 18, 2011

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday

Behind, in the hot distance,
in dust and haze,
a mystery-cloaked cloud approaches,
a playful meander
breaking the monotony of day.

The anticipation of something special
catches the pulse and breath of pilgrim souls
on the road to celebration.
Whispers grow to discussion,
opinion to argument,
theories fleet between mouths and ears.
A dignitary on his way to the feast….
A groom going to a wedding……
A prince comes…….
All forward trudging stops -
expectant voyeurs,
glad for the chance to rest,
turn their weary bodies
to view the distant disturbance.
Children look up, their enquiring glances
piercing parental armour,
breaching their ignorance:
answers hidden in that veiling distance.

No music escapes the approaching cloud,
no prelude clue to a wedding party,
nor mournful wails precede the dust,
no funeric suffering or life-engulfing loss.

Occasional gasps ripple the lookers-on,
sidelined and puzzled.
Prophetic words begin bubbling
through grey remembrances
in uncoordinated trickles.

Palm leaf fans keep the heat at bay
as, foot-weary, they stand and stare
into the distance, into the past.

Someone glimpses a colt
fading in and out
of the approaching cloud.
Another makes an association,
begins a mental journey through scrolls,
half forgotten temple arguments.
A donkey, a king, Jerusalem,
meeting, melting, intertwining.
History, legend, prophecy, melding:
a whirlpool of delight and fear.

Discussions become awed whispers.
Palm leaf fans drop – early Autumn
coming upon that dusty pathway.

Glimpses become sightings
unencumbered by the fatigue
that dogs other pilgrim marchers.
Half-heard phrases Chinese-whisper the roadside.
Noise becomes words, become shouted greetings:

“Praise to David’s Son”, psalmist’s words,
its speaker’s thoughts finding voice
in trembling recognition and surprise.

The party passes by,
and the sea of souls parts before its riding figure
taking their cues and echoing words

“Bless him who comes in the name of the Lord” ,
a clamour of “Hosanna”.

Each excited voice adding adrenalin
and volume,
accelerating the expectation,
the puzzlement, the wonder.

A prince rides into Jerusalem,
a groom comes for his bride;
this excited festival crescendos
in a swell that storms the gates of heaven
and will shatter the doors of hell.

NB this is one of the poems in the 'journey through Easter' section of my book 'in moments like these'
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1 comment:

Kathryn Darden said...

I meant to post how moving this poem is, but I have such limited computer access right now, my comments keep being left unposted.