It was a sacrifice for you to speak
that wedding-word that welcomed miracle.
It ended silence, privacy, the spell
of years when everything empirical
was divinized by Him, His hand, His look -
the quiet years at Nazareth when He,
True God, reserved for you His company -
all ended at that feast in Galilee
when wine ran out, and cups were drained and stained,
and you, concerned, told Him, "They have no more."
He knew what you implied, and He turned stern
to test the depth of your request, explore
your readiness to co-redeem, to fast,
abstain, bear pain - and keep the best for last -
She stood when other women would have dropped
and fallen down and clawed the quaking ground.
She stood and shared His silence when the wails
of weeping women bound the air with sound
and held it heavy, every breath a blow,
their keening shrill like wind that rips the rain
and blasts the birches back and black. She stood -
and no one else could have withstood the pain
she felt with every welt, with every strike
and stripe and burst of blood, with every moan.
She stood where Christ could see her constancy,
be comforted that He was not alone.
Compassionate, she watched Him writhe and rise,
a crucifixion in her steady eyes.
O Michelangelo! Why did you carve
such calm in her and leave her cheek so smooth?
Is she unaging then? Have grief and time
no power to affect her flesh, to prove
her old? The fold of stone reveals her youth -
the untouched brow, the slender, open hand,
the firm light fingers, sheltering and still,
and on her lap the body of a man
who's caught in all the silence of the stone -
her Son, her Savior, and her God in stark
repose, unclothed, and wrung into His rest.
Her countenance contemplative to mark
His wounds, this marble Mary moves to tears
for sorrow undiminished by the years.
O you Evangelists! Why do you not
agree in your accounts? Was something lost
when John, in haste, went running to the tomb?
Or were emotions mixed, and hearts so tossed
with grief and joy unspeakable, with fear
and love and inexplicable belief
that all the Gospels babble when they tell
of the rock rolled back, and light, and your relief
to see Him risen through the tears? And why
is nothing written of the woman who
was standing there beneath the cross? Did He
not go and show Himself to Mary too?
Or did she keep her secret all too well -
the Christ-encounter none but she could tell?
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