Monday, March 29, 2010

Of the Donkey, Gethsemane, and Mary Oliver

Gifts to us by Mary Oliver from her book "Thirst"  These pieces of poetry are so appropriate for Holy Week that I had to share them with all of you...

The Poet Thinks about the Donkey

On the outskirts of Jerusalem
the donkey waited.
Not especially brave, or filled with understanding,
he stood and waited.

How horses, turned out into the meadow,
leap with delight!
How doves, released from their cages,
clatter away, splashed with sunlight!

But the donkey, tied to a tree as usual, waited.
Then he let himself be led away.
Then he let the stranger mount.

Never had he seen such crowds!
And I wonder if he at all imagined what was to happen.
Still, he was what he had always been: small, dark, obedient.

I hope, finally, he felt brave.
I hope, finally, he loved the man who rode so lightly upon him,
as he lifted one dusty hoof and stepped, as he had to, forward.


The grass never sleeps.
Or the roses.
Nor does the lily have a secret eye that shuts until morning.

Jesus said, wait with me.  But the disciples slept.

The cricket has such splendid fringge on its feet,
and it sings, have you noticed, with its whole body,
and heaven knows it never sleeps.

Jesus said, wait with me.  And maybe the stars did, maybe               *
the wind wound itself into a silver tree, and didn't move,
the lake far away, where once he walked as on a
blue pavement,
lay still and waited, wild awake.

Oh the dear bodies, slumped and eye-shut, that could not
keep that vigil, how they must have wept,
so utterly human, knowing this too
must be a part of the story.

*Christ in Gethsemane by artist Michael D Obrien

...come and wait with me in the "garden" with our Lord this Maundy Thursday night and early Good Friday morning, in the sanctuary of Trinity Episcopal Church, Ashland, Oregon.  I will be there in the night watches...



Jan said...

Thank you, Catherine.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful entry! Thank you!
Have a blessed holy week and most of all Easter.
Blessings, S.

Kirkepiscatoid said...

I am sure my donkeys Miss Sylvia and Miss Topaz would like me to read them the first poem!