Around Easter, I always think of the Renaissance poet, John Donne, and his sonnet that begins, "Death be not proud." In it, the poet speaks to death, showing death's powerlessness in light of Christ's victory. My favorite line is the last one--so powerful! I recently wrote a poem based on the words in Matthew 27:25 when the crowds ask Pilate to release a criminal in place of Jesus. They want Jesus crucified and in a line which only God can see the truth of cry out, "His blood be on us and on our children." I hope you enjoy both poems as you think about Christ's death and resurrection.Have a joyous Easter!
John Donne's "Sonnet X" Death, be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadful, for thou are not so; For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me. From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be, Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow, And soonest our best men with thee do go, Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery. Thou'art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men, And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell, And poppy'or charms can make us sleep as well And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then? One short sleep past, we wake eternally, And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.
Blood-thirst The crowds--thirsty for blood His blood Cry out, mock, take control. The leaders--not knowing where to turn whether to appease or whether to fear accuse, question, scorn. Then Pilate washes his hands. Not in the True Water but for some semblance of innocence not knowing it is True Innocence standing before him. The crowds--thirsty for blood His blood Demanding, shouting, rioting. They want his blood not knowing it is what they need, what they will get. "His blood be on us and on our children!" They cry. We cry. Not knowing this was always the plan. It is the only way. The soldiers--thirsty for blood His blood Spitting, striking, stripping. They lead him away. His blood will be on them and on their children. His body broken, their wounds healed. His side pouring water, their thirst quenched. His blood spilled, a mark above the door, Death turns away. Death is no more. For them and for their children.