Passion Poetry
     

Mother of Tears

Queen of the Seven Sorrows

Good Friday Mothers

Mother of the Crucified

Three Mothers Beneath Three Crosses

How Our Blessed Lady Stood
by the Cross of Jesus

The Child of Calvary

Lady of Pain

Our Lord and Our Lady

 

Our Lady of the Passion

Fourth Station (The Voice of a Child)

Fourth Station (He Meets His Mother)

Thirteenth Station (He Is Taken from the Cross)

To Mary: At the Thirteenth Station

Our Lady on Calvary

Accused of Adultery

Pieta

 
   
Mother of Tears

Father, give me strength to reach
My Son in this eternity
Of bleeding Love upon a Cross!
Hast Thou forsaken Him as have
His friends in this abysmal hour?
Oh, torn and tortured Hands and Feet!
My God, forgive the savage cries
That stab the ears of Innocence!
Father, let each racking Breath
Sear my throat and drain my veins
In His consummate agony!

The blaze of Holocaust is night,
Blinding the eyes of cruelty.
In groping fear the guilty flee
And leave the outstretched Arms
To infinite emptiness. Oh, friends,
A few more steps and we shall stand
Abandoned with the Son of God.
Oh, Son, Thy mother falls before
Thy Cross. Accept her weakness,
sum of all her love for Thee and let
Her share Thy frightful immolation!

My arms receive Thy lifeless Body,
Slaughtered Lamb. Thy holy Will,
My God, be done.....
Oh generations
That will call me blessed, call me
Also Mother of Tears, and weep with me
If you would know how God has loved
The World.

Marie L. Weldon
Queen of All Hearts Back Cover
March/April 1954




Fra Angelico, Crucifixion,
mural, Florence, 1440


 

 

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Queen of the Seven Sorrows  

The hour of parting, the burning tears
And now before us the lonely years,
The vacant chair by the dear hearthstone
And the hearts left desolate and alone;

Sickness and suffering, grief and loss
Oh, life holds many a thorn and cross,
The bright dream shattered, the hopes laid low,
And a shadow darkening the sun's white glow.

Thus sorrow comes in a thousand ways,
Its thread is running through all our days;
Today the hour of joy is here,
But, oh! Tomorrow may bring the tear.

O Queen of the Seven Sorrows of Grief!
What holy solace, what blest relief
To come with our little woes to thee.
Who hast fathomed the deeps of Sorrow's sea!

How light our troubles compared with thine!
Always His Cross, like a blood-red sign,
Was thy dread vision both night and day,
Even when He was a Child at play.

O Queen of our grief and our pain thou art,
For their deepest swords have pierced thy heart,
And in Sorrow's day we should turn to thee
At the foot of the Cross on Calvary.

Cyril Robert
Our Lady's Praise in Poetry
Poughkeepsie, New York: Marist Press, 1944.

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Good Friday Mothers



Fra Angelico, Crucifixion,
mural, Florence, 1440

You watched that Friday of the sunless skies
While they plucked your Fruit from a tree upon a hill.
That grief of yours, flood high and very still,
Found no escape to the spillway of your eyes.
Oh, there was John whom Wisdom had made wise,
And Mary of the Spices who felt her thrill
Of pardon. Ah, but they can never fill
The dark before the dawn when He will rise.

O Mother of all mothers, you know loss,
The pain of staring at a vacant place
Where Someone used to sit the evening through!

Comfort all mothers, Mother of the Cross,
These days of hoping for a homing face,
And make all mothers heroines like you!

Patrick J. Carroll, Cyril Robert
Our Lady's Praise in Poetry
Poughkeepsie, New York: Marist Press, 1944.

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Mother of the Crucified

Mother, whose heart was crucified with Christ,
Yet who refused oblivion on that day,
You know what agony a man may bear,
You know the strength of God-supported clay.
Tonight the tortured nations cry aloud,
While waves of pain about them surge and roll.
Sharpen our knives of prayer that these may cleave
The bonds that cut into each limb and soul.
And you, O Mother of the Crucified!
Once more, as co-redemptrix, play your part.
Catch up this seething world, and plunge it deep
Into the vast compassion of His Heart.

Cecile Faget, Cyril Robert
Mary Immaculate: God's Mother and Mine.
Poughkeepsie, New York: Marist Press, 1946.

 

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Three Mothers Beneath Three Crosses

On Calvary's hill were three mothers who knelt
Where the fearsome great crosses stood,
And three in their hour of agony felt
They were one in their motherhood.

Two wept for the deeds their first-born had done
And the felon's doomed pathway long trod;
One was calm in a questionless faith in her Son...
For She was the Mother of God!

 

Forlorn and embittered in awe-stricken grief
One heard her son scoff and deride;
One rejoiced to hear Paradise promised a thief
Who found grace with his God crucified.

Sore ashamed, one fled the grim crosses; but there
Knelt the mother of Dismas to call,
First of all earth's children, in confident prayer
On Mary...now Mother of ALL!

Mary Adrienne Ervin, Cyril Robert
Mary Immaculate: God's Mother and Mine.
Poughkeepsie, New York: Marist Press, 1946.

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How Our Blessed Lady Stood
by the Cross of Jesus
 



Perugino, Crucifixion, Munchen, 1460

Woman, behold thy son, said Christ,
And He gave her to St. John;
And, Son, behold thy mother, said He,
And she saw the span of her life to be
When He was dead and gone.

For He have her not to John alone,
And Mary knew His mind,
And the whole world that caused His smart
She took straight to her martyred heart,
The Mother of mankind.

Helen Parry Eden, Cyril Robert
Mary Immaculate: God's Mother and Mine.
Poughkeepsie, New York:
Marist Press, 1946.

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Pietro Vannucci, Deposition, Lippa, 1450

 

The Child of Calvary

Of old, of old, on Calvary,
Stood Mary, full of grace,
Close to the cross where Jesus hung,
And looked up in His face.
Full tenderly Our Lord bent down
Toward her who gave Him birth,
Then placed her in the hands of him
He loved the best on earth;
So that disciple took her thence,
To dwell his home within,
And she became our mother dear,
Our Lady without sin.

E.R.W., Cyril Robert
Mary Immaculate: God's Mother and Mine.
Poughkeepsie, New York:
Marist Press, 1946.

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Lady of Pain

This will I ask of Thee
O Lonely One,
Deepest night engulfing me
And I alone
With all the sorrow of a heedless world
Upon my heart.
Loneliness and emptiness
For me apart
That I may share with Thee
Gethsemane.

This will I ask of Thee
O Scourged King,
Bleeding stripes upon my soul,
The hurt and sting
Of mockery and shame
That I may pray to be
Despised, rejected, and accursed with Thee,
Scourge me, Lord!

This will I ask of Thee
O Thorn-crowned One,
No honors, no reward, no gratitude
For words or actions done.
A crown of thorns to wound my pride,
To humble me.
This only, Lord, I ask of Thee.
A crown of thorns.

 

This will I ask of Thee
O Burdened One,
A cross to bear me to the ground,
To fall alone
And lashing whips to make me rise again,
With bleeding heart to walk with Thee
To Calvary.


Perugino, Crucifixion, Munchen, 1460
This will I ask of Thee
O Crucified,
Nails to pierce my hands and feet,
A lance to pierce my side,
And Thine own hand
To nail me there upon the cross
The grace to suffer and to understand,
Crucify me, Love!

Cyril Robert.
Mary Immaculate: God's Mother and Mine.
Poughkeepsie, New York:
Marist Press, 1946

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Our Lord and Our Lady  

They warned Our Lady for the Child
That was Our Blessed Lord,
And She took Him into the desert wild,
Over the camel's ford.

And a long song She sang to Him
And a short story told:
And she wrapped Him in a woollen cloak
To keep Him from the cold.

But when Our Lord was grown a man
The rich they dragged Him down,
And they crucified Him in Golgotha,
Out and beyond the town.

 


They crucified Him on Calvary,
Upon an April day;
And because He had been Her little Son
She followed Him all the way.

Our Lady stood beside the Cross,
A little space apart,
And when She heard Our Lord cry out
A sword went through her heart.

They laid Our Lord in a marble tomb,
Dead, in a winding sheet.
But Our Lady stands above the world
With the white moon at her feet.


Hilaire Belloc, Cyril Robert
Mary Immaculate: God's Mother and Mine.
Poughkeepsie, New York:
Marist Press, 1946.

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Our Lady of the Passion

Geertgen tot St. Jans, Nood Gods, Utrecht, 1495

O Lady of the Passion, dost thou weep?
What help can we then through our tears survey,
If such as thou a cause for wailing keep?
What help, what hope, for us, sweet Lady, say?

Good man, it doth befit thine heart to lay
More courage next it, having seen me so.
All other hearts find other balm today,
The whole world's Consolation is my woe!

John Mauropus (D. 1060)
Translated from the Greek: Elizabeth Barrett Browning
M. Thérèse.
I Sing of a Maiden: The Mary Book of Verse.
New York: Macmillan, 1947.



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Fourth Station (The Voice of a Child)

They say this is His Mother,
the people aged and tall.
Who stands upon the roadway
rejected by them all;
her eyes are on the crosses.
Oh, why am I so small!

The heavy wood is pressing
the flesh that is her Son.
No word from her is wanted
whose cloak with dust is spun;
she may not cry in anguish.
Weep, mothers, gazing on!

His searching eyes have found you
and sent their love to you;
but now the hill up yonder
demands His life anew.
On tip-toe I was standing;
I saw your hand ascending
to bid a last adieu.

Ruth Schaumann
Translated from the German: William Brell
M. Thérèse. I Sing of a Maiden: The Mary Book of Verse.
New York: Macmillan, 1947.



 
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Fourth Station (He Meets His Mother)

This afternoon in loud Jerusalem
They meet and part once more; no touch nor kiss
Can ease their anguish; while the mockers hiss:
And he's the fool who thought his streaming hem
Could cure the woman. See the two of them,
The son and wife of Joseph come to this.
Two hearts cry out - abyss unto abyss,
And Jesse's flower is cut from Jesse's stem.

Perhaps she thinks of Nain - of all the land.
Where wonders blossomed as He walked three years;
Of Jairus, Lazarus, the withered hand,
Of flowing mercies and of drying tears;
And still she knows her bitter place and part,
He will not heal her withered, widowed heart.

William Donaghy
M. Thérèse. I Sing of a Maiden: The Mary Book of Verse.
New York: Macmillan, 1947.


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Thirteenth Station (He Is Taken From the Cross)

Now you may have Him, Mary, they are done,
The shepherd stricken lies; His little flock
Had fled before the crowing of the cock;
Now Caiphas is happy; he has won;
He does not heed the frightened crowds that run,
Jerusalem is shaken; shock on shock
Upheave the temple sanctum, rive the rock;
Now you may have the Thing that was your Son.

He cannot hear you, darling, He is dead.
Come, now, and we will hide Him from their sight;
He cannot feel your kisses on His head.
See - Nicodemus waits no more for night.
Look - he and John and Joseph stand in grief
And look to you for refuge and relief.

William Donaghy
M. Thérèse. I Sing of a Maiden: The Mary Book of Verse.
New York: Macmillan, 1947.


 

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To Mary: At the Thirteenth Station

Vorlagen Hans Holbeins, Christus am Kreuze, Germany, 1620

You are the priest tonight:
The paten of your lap holds sacrifice.
You are the priest tonight,
Offering Peace and its price.
Star candles burn palely bright;
John is your faithful acolyte.
You are the priest tonight.

Raymond Roseliep
M. Thérèse. I Sing of a Maiden: The Mary Book of Verse.
New York: Macmillan, 1947.

 

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Our Lady on Calvary  

So like a queen she moves
among the rabble.
The shadow of the cross
He bears falls upon her
through the dim day's glow.
Wrapped in blue, calm,
with stately tread
she follows close,
close - so very close
she feels the terrible heat
of His tortured heart
upon her own.
Her shoulders shrink
beneath her gown
as He stumbles and falls
and the tree sinks deep
in open wounds.
But no sign of pain
mirrors in her cold
still face;
No gasping cry parts
her carved, white lips.
He is silent.
So is she.
But from the shaded veil
her eyes look out
and cry the lie
of her unbowed head;
and buried deep
in her mantle folds
her fingers hurt
themselves
in agony.

 

 

 

Lady and Mother
if only she could weep!
But no, she is a queen,
and queens are brave
and full of strength,
Even a Mother-Queen.
Her Mother's heart
aches and swells
in an unbent breast
to lay that bloody head,
its crown of crimson thorns removed,
against its pillowed softness,
to soothe those burning eyes
with moist, light kisses;
to fold those hands in a long caress

against her cheeks
and pretend He is again
her little child
hurt in play
and comforted to sleep
in her arms.
But He is a Man,
a King
with a task to do
for truth
and all that men will claim
dear and just and beautiful
in the days to be
and through
eternity.

She must see Him through
His mission well done,
Ever Queen and Mother of God.

Sr. Michael Marie
Sr. M. Thérèse. I Sing of A Maiden: The Mary Book of Verse.
New York: Macmillan, 1947.

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Accused of Adultery

the woman brought before My Son
accused of adultery

was me

... could have been me, they ringed
with their stony eyes and
hardened hearts
fingers itching, bodies aching
to be next, too late to be the first

to cast a stone before the One
Who would know
what it's like

to bear the Last Straw (Light

as a Cross) if Joseph
hadn't stepped forward,

which is what
My Son
probably wrote in the sand, in
Belshazzar font, those oh so many
years ago

"Where is the Man?" Carl Winderl.
This poem was first published in First Things, February 1999, 26.
Used here with permission of the poet.

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Pieta

Always the same hills
Crown the horizon,
Remote witnesses
Of the still scene
And in the foreground
The tall Cross,
Sombre, untenanted,
Aches for the Body
That is back in the cradle
of a maid's arms.

by R.S. Thomas

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