Sunday, April 17, 2011

Palm Sunday







Palm Sunday 
(Elation)

Behind, in the hot distance,
in dust and haze,
a mystery-cloaked cloud approaches,
a playful meander
breaking the monotony of day.

The anticipation of something special
catches the pulse and breath of pilgrim souls on the road to celebration.
Whispers grow to discussion,
opinion to argument,
theories fleet between mouths and ears.
       A dignitary on his way to the feast….
A groom going to a wedding……
A prince comes…….
All forward trudging stops -
expectant voyeurs,
glad for the chance to rest,
turn their weary bodies
to view the distant disturbance.
Children look up, their enquiring glances
piercing parental armour,
breaching their ignorance:
answers hidden in that veiling distance.

No music escapes the approaching cloud,
no prelude clue to a wedding party,
nor mournful wails precede the dust,
no funeric suffering or life-engulfing loss.

Occasional gasps ripple the lookers-on,
sidelined and puzzled.
Prophetic words begin bubbling
through grey remembrances
in uncoordinated trickles.

Palm leaf fans keep the heat at bay
as, foot-weary, they stand and stare
into the distance, into the past.

Someone glimpses a colt
fading in and out
of the approaching cloud.
Another makes an association,
begins a mental journey through scrolls,
half forgotten temple arguments.
A donkey, a king, Jerusalem,
meeting, melting, intertwining.
History, legend, prophecy, melding:
a whirlpool of delight and fear.

Discussions become awed whispers.
Palm leaf fans drop – early Autumn
coming upon that dusty pathway.

Glimpses become sightings
unencumbered by the fatigue
that dogs other pilgrim marchers.
Half-heard phrases Chinese-whisper the roadside.
Noise becomes words, become shouted greetings:

“Praise to David’s Son”, psalmist’s words, 
its speaker’s thoughts finding voice
in trembling recognition and surprise.

The party passes by, 
and the sea of souls parts before its riding figure
taking their cues and echoing words

“Bless him who comes in the name of the Lord” ,
a clamour of  “Hosanna”.

Each excited voice adding adrenalin
and volume,
accelerating the expectation,
the puzzlement, the wonder.

A prince rides into Jerusalem,
a groom comes for his bride;
this excited festival crescendos
in a swell that storms the gates of heaven
and will shatter the doors of hell.



NB  this is one of the poems in the 'journey through Easter' section of my book 'in moments like these'

13 comments:

TraciB said...

Goosebumps - I have goosebumps with this one, Keith. It is easily the best of your poems that I've read. Brilliant and perfectly suited to this day. Well done, my brother!

Debra Ann Elliott said...

Keith, thank you for sharing these beautiful, meaningful words...tears faliing.

From Carol's Quill said...

Lovely, Keith. You made me feel THERE.

lynnmosher said...

What a vivid walk! Awe-inspiring, Keith! Have a blessed Easter week.

Tracy Krauss said...

You've brought us right to the scene. Beautiful

Anonymous said...

You definitely have a way with words that would not even come to my thought process...a mystery-cloaked cloud approaches...piercing parental armour...uncoordinated trickles.

Thank you for your sculpting!

E. G. Lewis said...

A perfect post for Palm Sunday.
Peace and Blessings

Cindee Snider Re said...

Amen! Love how the poem builds to those final two lines, "in a swell that storms the gates of heaven/
and will shatter the doors of hell."

Excitement, anticipation, history, and local characterization culminating in two final powerful lines! Love it!

Adam Collings said...

Wow you really captured the experience and made it feel real through your words.

One line that spoke to me was "expectant voyeurs". It made me wonder, how many of those wavings branches and shouting praises were just there to see "what was going on"? Were they praising just to experience the excitement of being part of the crowd? It might explain why they turned on Him a week later.

May out worship of Jesus never be like that.

Thanks for a powerful poem Keith.

Sheila said...

"Someone glimpses a colt
fading in and out
of the approaching cloud.
Another makes an association,
begins a mental journey through scrolls,
half forgotten temple arguments.
A donkey, a king, Jerusalem,
meeting, melting, intertwining.
History, legend, prophecy, melding:
a whirlpool of delight and fear"

Love this! I've often wondered if anyone in the crowds recognized Jesus for who he really was. A wonderful time to have been there, but I would probably have been as dense as most of his other disciples.

Thanks for sharing!

chris vonada said...

Keith, thank you for this, I really enjoyed it!

Chris Perdue said...

This is the my favorite of your poems I have read. Great take on Palm Sunday.

Scott Fields said...

Gah! Sheila beat me to the quote! I'm taking part of it, anyway:

Another makes an association,
begins a mental journey through scrolls,
half forgotten temple arguments.


What I love most is that you took us into the hearts and minds of the observers on this occasion--the ones we should most identify with, yet the ones we tend to forget most when we hear this story.

Great stuff, Keith. Thanks!