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Long, long, long ago;
Way before this winter’s snow
First fell upon these weathered fields;
I used to sit and watch and feel
And dream of how the spring would be,
When through the winter’s stormy sea
She’d raise her green and growing head,
Her warmth would resurrect the dead.

Long before this winter’s snow
I dreamt of this day’s sunny glow
And thought somehow my pain would pass
With winter’s pain, and peace like grass
Would simply grow.  (But) The pain’s not gone.
It’s still as cold and hard and long
As lonely pain has ever been,
It cuts so deep and fear within.

Long before this winter’s snow
I ran from pain, looked high and low
For some fast way to get around
Its hurt and cold.  I’d have found,
If I had looked at what was there,
That things don’t follow fast or fair.
That life goes on, and times do change,
And grass does grow despite life’s pains.

Long before this winter’s snow
I thought that this day’s sunny glow,
The smiling children and growing things
And flowers bright were brought by spring.
Now, I know the sun does shine,
That children smile, and from the dark, cold, grime
A flower comes.  It groans, yet sings,
And through its pain, its peace begins.

– Mary Ann Bernard


Maundy Thursday

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Between the brown hands of a server-lad
The silver cross was offered to be kissed.
The men came up, lugubrious, but not sad,
And knelt reluctantly, half-prejudiced.
(And kissing, kissed the emblem of a creed.)
Then mourning women knelt; meek mouths they had,
(And kissed the Body of the Christ indeed.)
Young children came, with eager lips and glad.
(These kissed a silver doll, immensely bright.)
Then I, too, knelt before that acolyte.
Above the crucifix I bent my head:
The Christ was thin, and cold, and very dead:
And yet I bowed, yea, kissed – my lips did cling.
(I kissed the warm live hand that held the thing.)

– Wilfred Owen


Searching for Stonehenge and Paradise (In Honour of Holy Week)

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Time will not deign requests,
least of all answer threats;
hand’s methodic, indifferent,
perpetually…… insistant,
to the impendings, portendings-
and ultimate endings,
we incur on ourselves,
then tossed on back shelves,
all the sins we have laid,
by Free Will’s sad parade.

And perhaps it’s not fair –
Time carries its air
with obstinate stare,
should ever you dare
to challenge Times hand
and its hourglass sand
by Destiny’s power
dictating ‘The Hour’
that be our last.

You must be agnostic,
or a Doctor of Space
who purges prognostics,
out the sides of your face –
to take on this question
of Time, Life and Lesson,
rebuke Heaven’s Gate,
from logics queer bait
that bookmarks your guile;
look at Abaddon smile.

Still we’re searching, searching,
where great men laid claims
’til Time syncronates
with Destiny’s game.
Poor us…..and in fact-
damn Us and our acts
that Time won’t tolerate
and won’t take back.

What to do, my friend?
Is there Time to repent?
Perhaps time we search
for some grail of soul re-birth,
some renewed ambience…

For the God-Gifts we take
for granted everyday,
and rarely take embrace,
’til Time drops its face
and hands on our shoulders.

– Frank James Ryan Jr


The Morsel

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Some more poetry in recognition and celebration of this most sacred week in the Christian calendar – Holy Week.

A piece of bread
torn from the loaf
Exists separately
no longer part of the whole.

It has a solitary purpose
complete in itself
not passed over
Held closely, protected
until the fullness of time
When it is dipped and released
at the final feast
Broken for one,
not for all
Given only to the intimate one
who must go quickly
To do what he must do.

When Satan’s treacherous leaven
had fully risen,
Judas Iscariot accepted
the chosen morsel
And went out into the night.

A piece of bread
torn from the loaf
Exists separately,

no longer part of the whole.

 – Shelley A Soceka


Sonnet Written In Holy Week At Genoa

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I WANDERED in Scoglietto’s green retreat,

The oranges on each o’erhanging spray

Burned as bright lamps of gold to shame the day;

Some startled bird with fluttering wings and fleet

Made snow of all the blossoms, at my feet

Like silver moons the pale narcissi lay:

And the curved waves that streaked the sapphire bay

Laughed i’ the sun, and life seemed very sweet.

Outside the young boy-priest passed singing clear,

“Jesus the Son of Mary has been slain,

O come and fill his sepulchre with flowers.”

Ah, God! Ah, God! those dear Hellenic hours

Had drowned all memory of Thy bitter pain,

The Cross, the Crown, the Soldiers, and the Spear.

– Oscar Wilde