Thomas Ramey Watson

Another Holy Week Poem

Here’s another Holy Week poem from my yet-unpublished collection, At the Axis of the West. Especially fitting for Good Friday in which tragedies are turned to good, in fulfillment of that traditional mystical notion that somehow our suffering goes to fill out the suffering of Christ.

To the great sea’s primordial ooze,
they gave back more
of their life’s gains—
dearer than furniture and food—
two daughters
drowned on the way
to this wounded city.
Their young wombs
would never fruit
like the pomegranate,
or the fig.
Such losses,
bruited about Jerusalem,
the Spaffords tucked
like letters
into the side of Christ.
–Thomas Ramey Watson©

N.B. It’s important to remember that good people of all faiths, and none, must make sacrifices to do good and stand against evil, just as the Spaffords, whose legacy lives on in contemporary Jerusalem, did. Both daughters were drowned in a shipwreck on their way to the poverty struck region. Many moderns forget that we just don’t know what we will be called to give up–or what we will finally gain.

Here is a well known George Herbert poem, The Bag, that refers to the wound in Christ’s side as a place for our “letters.”

Poem: The Bag by George Herbert
Away despair! my gracious Lord doth hear.
Though winds and waves assault my keel,
He doth preserve it: he doth…

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