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I was born, I'm currently living, and will eventually die. After that I face my judgment, and we'll talk then.


Friday, April 10, 2009

"Good Friday"

I began writing this poem a couple of weeks ago, when my students were taking their TerraNova testing. It is based on the Stations of the Cross. I will probably make it better later, but for now, I'll post what I have written. Think T. S. Eliot.

“Good Friday”

- Matthew B. Rose

Deus meus, Deus meus,

O Lord, save us, save us,

Through your mercy

Save us.

Adam, see what you started,

Eve, see what you did,

All your sins, and yours and mine,

He was somehow able to forgive.

Hear that sound, it is a gong,

A solitary steady song,

Hear it signal the end of strife,

And the beginning of our newer life.


There is anger in your eyes

Wrath unbridled

Betrayed and shaken by their lies

Truth defiled.

Peace to you is all I say

Hope so willing

Serenity please, I pray

Pain o’er spilling

Heart still hoping,

Head still bleeding

Love o’er flowing


The other day, when we were walking

(we are almost out of time)

I remember you said something serious

(jokingly, of course, of course)

something about a kingdom

(my kingdom for a horse?)

maybe it was something else

(what about hands)

that’s it, I remember

(The Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand)


A man lays broken

Words unspoken

A priceless token

Freely given

But still riven

And yet he looks up


And gets up.


“My Lord.” “My Lady fair.”

“Speak lover.”

“Purest Beloved: Do you remember,

long ago,

a gift and blessing from my Lord?”

“Your Lord?”

“The Lord.”

“I remember misty warmth and whispery words,

Some unspoken, all were heard.”

“And I?”

“The Gift.”

“As well I do remember. His presence made present.”

“A Gift for all seasons.”

“I love you, mommy.”

“I miss you.”

“And I you, but remember,

I make all things new.”


My God, My God,

Why am I here?

Why the tortures


Grimly I fear

This Dies Irae

It seems so dark

Lonely, lonesome

O God, where are you?

Answer Me!


Come, all you who pass by.

Can you hear them moan and sigh?

Hot tears, bitter tears,

All your fears,

All those years,

Were they a waste?

I will not let it be a waste.

Here, man, if you will not turn back,

Here is a piece of my own slack,

What I should have been doing,

Hopefully, by this penance proving,

You Lord, are not alone.


I can see Him now, coming up this way,

Murmuring words no man can say.

Worming his way along the path,

He trusted all, all for their worth

Broken, bleeding, he heard their pleading

A mother in love, a Father above,

Spittle flying, Love is dying.

I hear crying.

O My Lord.

See Him bearing, loving, sharing,

Falling, stalling, sighing, rising.


Mommy, who’s that man?

Why is he sighing?

Mommy, who’s that lady?

Why is she crying?

Mommy, who’s that man?

Why is she bleeding?

Mommy, who are these ladies?

Why are they weeping?

Why are you weeping?




Why doesn’t he stay there?

It’s good for him, the old dusty air.

Kings of Kings have trodden here,

Holding dear

Sacred relics of God and Man,

Keeping them hidden, doing what they can to help God.

No, this man won’t enjoy the dirt.

He will not rest, His loins are girt.

Spit now, hit him hard,

Split his back, make it shards

Of broken glass.

This stubborn ass

Is making me mad.

Let’s kill him here, it’s not that bad



We are to see he makes it there.

Executions are really not fair,

Working hard, little pay,

Hearing convicts whine half the day

Well, now he’s getting up.

Marcus, hand me that cup.

I’ll splash some water on his face.

No man earned such a disgrace.

And on we go; no we’ll see

What Hell awaits us on top of Calvary.


My pretty bird, sing for me.

My, what beautiful feathers,

What beautiful fetters.

I’ll take them off you,

And your feathers too.

My bird, my worm, dove turned to dirt.

Aww, you cry. I’ll wipe your face.

The back of my hand cleans that disgrace.

Foolish man, you are nothing now.

(Put me down for five and seven)

Weep man, cry out.

What is with him?

Get the nails, get the hammer.

I lost his robe, but I got some cloth.

Cloth for dusting, good ol’ dusting.

Ashes to ashes; dust from dust.


“My friends, you are my closest ones.

You alone I can trust.

You are my closest companions,

James, here, you have some dust

Stuck to your shirt,

There, cleaned off the dirt.

My three friends,

Peter, James, and John,

Are closer to me than the rising sun.

I tell you this, so that you might have faith,

When all your hope falls under the weight

Of the coming sorrow.

I will die, come back, and leave.

Yes, I have a trick up my sleeve.

But after I’m gone, I warn you of danger,

I tell you now, to calm your anger.

James, you first will give up your life,

Bowing your head at a glorified knife.

Peter, you too will give me your all,

But your body will rise, not fall.

John, you will be tortured and burnt,

But you will die old, and tell all you learnt.

This I tell you, to prepare your heart,

So you remember this when I depart.”

I remember his words, and his sweet thoughts,

But would never expect this horror, this rot,

This evil to innocence. What did he do

To deserve such evil for speaking truth?

I see the nails, I hear the sound.

I can count his bones, his body sinks down.

I cannot bear to look at him, but I can’t stop.

I’ll watch his family drop

To the ground and pray,

Here at the cross I will stay.


+ Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.

I’m not saying they aren’t culpable,

But they don’t know better.

They choose this evil, but they don’t know why.

Working through them? Lord, I understand.

So forgive them their part, Lord, if they are willing.

Not my will, though, but Thine.

+ This day you will be with me in Paradise.

I know you, brother, I know you are sorry.

I’ve seen your face before, my friend,

And I know you know who I Am.

Thank you for the sympathies,

I’m indebted to you.

For you, I give a gift of gifts,

Salvation for your sorrow.

Come, baptized in blood,

Into your reward.

+ Woman, behold your son; Man, behold your mother.



I need you both to be strong.

I know you understand, both of you.

You are my family, the ones who stayed.

So mommy, I give you my friend.

Friend, you are my new brother.

Yet not just you, you know that by now,

But all, from now to the end,

All who bow and pray and praise the glory

Of this sacrifice.

Mommy, you are their mother.

John, you are their brother.

Be with each other as mother and brother,

Parent and Son.

+ I thirst.

I can’t feel my throat. It burns.

It is yours, O Lord.

I need to finish this. Lord, help me.

So thirsty. So dry.

+ My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?

I am this Psalm, and I start it now.

I finish it Lord, to glorify your name.

Help me,

Keep me,

Take me.

I have been the worm.

I have had my hands and feet pierced.

I can count all my bones.

They circle under me, like a pack of dogs.

How accurately is the prediction!

How thorough the fulfillment.

To the Greater Glory of God.

+ It is Finished.

I have fought the good fight,

I have done Your will.

The Passover is complete,

I have drunken the last cup.

This is my Last Will and Testament.

This is it. This is the Point of No Return.

I can do no more.

+ Into Your hands I command my Spirit

You have redeemed me, O Faithful God.


He’s dead? Already?

I was sure he would remain,

A living human stain,

Hanging up there, he should have been good

For another few hours of gory food.

I cannot believe this news.

You are sure? You saw it too?



Do what you will. Take him down.

Let him be buried or thrown

Out. Get rid of the body. I see

Nothing more to this man’s story.

He’s dead and gone,

He’s dead and gone.


I am here, watching the hole,

Filled with a rock and still

There is danger, stupid anger.

I heard him speak once;

He was very good. Like a god.

Maybe he was a god.

Maybe he was God.

So we killed God and buried him in a hole.

He’s in the earth, dust to dust.

Dirty man, rotting away.

And here I sit and do nothing.

His friends, his followers,

They pray, they hope.

For what?

Maybe this isn’t the end after all.


  1. Wow. This is different -- in a good way. You do the Police in different Voices.

    I need to come back to this when I have time, because some parts I really like, but there are a few words that jar. If I forget, remind me.

  2. I love this poem. 10, 11, and 12 are SO GOOD.