A poem for Holy Saturday - Part One

Holy Saturday - A Poem

So comes the corpse of rood-torn Christ,
mocked in procession through the tombs of the dead,
to the bestialised banquet house of the damned spirits.
Dark shadows cast by spluttering light, a light that is more darkness than illumination, a shadow light
grey and dull,
hell's fire a sickly flame all spent in death.

The blood is fresh, its sparkle strange...
But lost to these bestial eyes that have lost all perception.
They see simply gore,
And find in that their fascination,
A drug that soothes their hollow rancour.

But monsters of their own passions,
The darkness within meets the darkness without,
And howls of rancid mourning
Cry out like wolves.
A pack, they are alone,
And feel their lostness as a snow frosted plane,
And cling in a brittle hostility to
The collective, seduced by their own fear
to think that in this they have found

So as one they cry to
Rend the flesh they think is rancid in death,
To parade in sordid revelry this
Prize of Goodness.
What perverse pleasure rises up
When purity is defiled in public sport!

And so the procession comes
To beat of drum and shouted chorus,
Dull lights flickering shadows along the way
That dance with glee
And half suppressed desire to consume and defile,
Slaughtered by unshackled passions,
As teeth and knives and claws
Sense to frenzy
And dismember
On the dark altar
Until all that is Good is no more.

And does Adam hear
The muted howls and chinks of demonic chatter
As still and cold his corpse still lies
Bound tight with shroud
And held fast by stone laid heavy
In his tomb chilled
By the everlasting winter
In the furnace of death?
Forever cold, yet always burning,
Silence that incessantly gnaws at the ears.

And beneath it all
The long sorrow
A fragment of hope that
Cannot give up the yearning
For Goodness is still within his breast,
Even a flicker, a slight red glow
Of a final ember,
Concealed by stealth even as he
Was bound within his sarcophagus.

The longing is pain,
For the pain is hope.
Hope crushed but hope still.
The hope that somehow still believes that
This tomb
This death
This emptied hollow
Is but a fiction,
A no thing,
A facile tremor on the face of reality
That cannot BE
Which cannot last
That has no strength to endure
To hold
To bind.
That this is mockery and hubris bound,
In a shameful paradox of the celestial marriage.

Unconscious longing is Adam's secret treasure
The oil upon which hope's dim light still burns.

Comatose with endless sleep
And the numbing cold
And the fire that burns away all sense,
Adam stirs.
His eyelids flicker.
An imperceptible twitch in his shoulder.
A word nudges his consciousness...
A word not heard for so, so long...
A word calling... Itself freshly fed on longing...
A word that is Name.
It trails aways....but returns...
Yes, returns stronger, a warm word,
Full of a lover's desire,
Tenderly spoken, like honey on the lips,
So, so rich in this barren, greyness.
"Adam...." Clearer now but far, far away.
The silence returns,
but now the clatter of tongues is gone.
Silence rests, refreshed, still.
Adam slumbered, rests, refreshed even in death.

The bestial procession passes on,
Out of the narrow passages into the great hall,
And there he, Beast of Beasts, is enthroned
High above and decked in decaying finery, colourless and forlorn but strangely magnificent.
His head thrown back in passionate laughter,
A piercing, shriek of manic triumph.
"Behold the meek Lamb!"
It dares proclaim, in barely contained
Ravenous slobbering,
It's myriad eyes glinting with a manic lust
Fearful yet beyond containment,
Darting this way and that until transfixed
All settle like magnets
On the Sacred One that
Lies death shrouded,
Naked save for still bloodied wounds,
That bleed.... That O so bleed
And will not cease their bleeding,
Their seeping,
Glinting but with another Light.

And drop by steady drop
Fall upon the earth,
The deep earth of this refuge of death,
Sweet pearls cast into the sty of demons,
Sweet dew upon the tombstones that lie
Ranked beyond the eye.

Adam...one such droplet has now found its way
Down through the crevice of
Stone on stone,
One tiny droplet of
The Precious Blood
And like a nurse seeking her patient
It burrows and slides
Until it falls fresh
Upon the bonds of linen
Tied around Adam's breast.
Falling like myrrh
A droplet cast with merriment and love,
That seeps into the dried linen and
Releases a sweet odour that
The musk of death cannot bear
And flees
Rumbling the stones
Tumbling the dust
Abandoning Adam's corpse
Scrambling for the stench of rotting flesh.
Adam's nostrils stir,
For a moment flare
And dare to breathe...
Breathe deeply O Adam,
For the breath of Life comes
As once it breathed your dust into living flesh.
Adam's chest heaves slightly, every s slightly,
The shroud tightens,
The air stirs.


  1. I love this Ian. Read the whole thing once and nearly cried, then read it to some friends. God bless you and your beautiful work.


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