Such pageantries of suffering, our little/lives rounding toward the dream of sleep and rest,/their waters all-forgiving…
O, let them come to the water: all who are weary,
let them come. It is invitations like this that I
recall from Sunday school, and the biscuits shared.
Then we grow away from them; too pat, too easy.
Are we forgiven all transgressions then against all
who heap scorn and who trespass against us?
A tit for a tat. Lex Talionis is clear and simple.
Pluck my eye, and I would make a clean bone
of your eye socket. Je me souviens. I will not forgive.
Did not Simon Peter sever an ear dear to Pilate’s
Malchus? “Upon this sword, Peter, I shall build
a Rock of a church, no perfidy shall prevail against.”
“Would he had said that, and not wait at Gethsemane,”
they now murmur, vanquished, huddled in vigil
to await a third day before the cock crows thrice.
The hill of skulls has since become a bastion of power,
even the mighty tremble before it. All because he
said: “Forgive them, they know not what they do.”
What’s left of this edict is now a little pageant
around empty tombs where the Empty Tomb
was finally sealed: He is not here! He is risen! He has left!
Little lives are left in a trek of remembrance. He is risen.
He has left. He will come again to judge the living.
He will judge the dead. O let them come to the water.
Where they flow far from the old Jordan river, they wash
the stain on every limb cut and every hand that cut them.
Our little lives will remember. We will forgive.