This week Transpositions is honored to feature a series of collaborative meditations on the events of Lent by drawing together the poetry of Gerald St. Maur and the photography of Rev. Thomas Brauer. A widely published poet, author, and former Dean of Interdisciplinary Studies at University of Alberta, Gerald St. Maur’s most recent collection of poetry ‘dolorosa’ (Somerset Annals, 2014) offers a piercing and compassionate look into the final events of the life of Christ, a selection of which will be included throughout the week. Interpreting these poems through the lens of his camera, Rev. Thomas Bauer interweaves the historic events of Christ’s final days into our own daily surroundings through a series of photographic images. It is through this collaborative interweaving of word with image that we hope new light and new life can be shed upon His life–then and now.
The Last Supper
The breaking of bread together, in joy
is to join hearts; likewise, to raise a glass.
For in nourishing the body,
heart, nerve and sinew may be renewed.
It is an occasion for gratitude:
for the lives of animals sacrificed,
for the seeds and fruits of the earth,
for the water from which we all spring.
It is an opportunity for thanks:
to our brethren for their labour,
to our mother and sisters for their constancy,
to those who serve for their dedication.
But it is Jesus,
who sacrificed Himself
so that we may be nourished in the Truth
and refreshed in the Holy Spirit,
who brings to the table the sustenance of God’s love,
knowing that each supper
may be the Last.
What is justice
to those who would ignore the law?
What is truth
to a liar; or lies
to the devotee of truth?
The answer belies the question.
Judges strut their stuff
atop the gather of ceremony-
yield profound pronouncements
in the litany of eye and tooth.
But the descent of the gavel,
lost in the washing of hands
silences the wisdom of humility,
denies the love of justice
and the justice of love.
And the deaf mob,
swayed by fingers pointed,
trumpet themselves in noisy worship
and demand their passion be abated
in the ritual of sacrifice.
Fall From Grace
Who among us would believe
betrayal could hide behind trust,
or loyalty could be thrice denied
in only one night?
And who would expect
an innocent pledge of honesty
to be ridiculed
and mocked in the street?
But ignorance and arrogance,
those cavorting twins,
grin and clap their hands
in the torment of victims,
spit upon, pushed, jabbed
and beaten with sticks.
And who but satisfied authority
could coldly give the order
for men unfeeling
to rip off the shirt of a man
and lash his back
until the leather whip bled crimson?
What manner of man
could feel and forgive each blow,
and while wracked with pain
accept the ignominy
of a crown of thorns?
Accepting the Cross
The dignity and immanence
of the Holy Spirit
become the jest of man, Jesus
lowered the towering cross
on to His bloody right shoulder.
Not the weight of the rough hewn timber
nor the clamour of the aping crowd
could prevent His inward smile,
knowing the eternal truth
none of them could see
or wanted to hear.
The first step on the final walk
was no more than a lurch,
a stumble into pain
that brought forth conviction
transcending the taunts and jeers.
And God incarnate
Was seen struggling
with the muscle and might of man,
that imperfect instrument of creation.
The First Fall
To balance a burden
greater than any kingdom
is more than heart and soul
Any yet the pressing crowd
could only jostle and jest
at the dragging cross,
its trail soon obliterated
by the clamour of unwashed feet.
Women with anxious eyes, weeping,
wanting to reach out
to touch and share His burden
stood silent in the margins.
But fear suffocates love
and in the shuffle and trip
of so many anxious feet
the balance was lost
and the cross fell to the ground
with Jesus beneath.
The crowd cheered and chanted
that justice had been served.