Peter’s Resurrection

April 23, 2011

Poetry

Note: I published these poems two years ago.  I’m recycling them in light of tomorrow’s celebration. 

Part One
See Luke 22:54-62 

Kindly let me ring that rooster’s neck –
the one who crowed before you gazed on me,
and drained my face of all its blood.
I collapsed amid my heaving sobs,
my bold self-image heaped in rubble,
a trembling coward rising in its place.
Enough of self-discovery!
My warrior self was bluster and myth,
an actor’s mask for coward’s play.
Now cheer me, soothing friend,
and tell me how to rest in a liar’s soul.
Too much of “self”! Too much of “me”!

I now wander among the fires of night,
where clots of peasants warm their hands,
and mumble know-nothings of your fate.
The flames refuse to yield their heat
and leave my soul as cold as ice.
Where does the myth-less man reside?
Where does he find his warmth?
When does his morning come?

And when will the rooster’s echo stop?

Part Two
See Luke 24:1-12; Matthew 17:1-8

The rest reject the women’s talk
and ape the Rabbis’ scorn:
They claim no truth can come from “them”
and ban their words in court.
As for me:
A chill engulfs my frozen bones;
all spit is voided from my calloused mouth,
and the shrill cock screams.
My sandaled feet take sudden flight,
and I’m a mindless, catapulted rock
with a thudding heart.
I pause before the shifted stone,
then peer into the dim-lit cave –
recoiling when I should rejoice
at linen strips dripping blood.
The women’s tale is now confirmed.
And I feel damned.

Perhaps the others can regale
and dare to dream they’ll see your face.
Few saw you as I once did:
a god-man beaming sun-like light
with eyes that burned like fire;
the brightest cloud enveloped us
and we heard the sacred lion’s voice.
I was awed. I was terrified.

I can sense your roving eyes
and shiver at their flame.
I’m sure your clothes now gleam a glare
that cinders any liar.
You’ll hunt me down;
you’ll roar a roar of rage.
The warmth will never come.
I’ll forget the morning.

The screeching echo will never stop.

Part Three
See John 21; Matthew 17:1-13

The sun peaks out above the hills
and spreads its warmth upon the lake.
We eat the fish you cooked for us.
A thick aroma scents the air,
with nearby myrtles draped in smoke.
I think of when you first returned –
and how I quaked at your “shalom.”
But your eyes …
… yes, they burned …
… but not with rage …
Your eyes were lit with potent grace,
with perfumed, fragranced love:
hypnotic love that filled the room,
and rendered all else superfluous.
You breathed your holy breath on us,
and the shiver in my soul was stopped.
Your eyes still burn with flaming love –
as I sit across from you –
a love for me, your beloved liar.

I’m beckoned to a walk with you.
Three times I hear requests for love,
and I say yes three times.
I’m left to wonder of your trust …
… until I see your smile:
my three denials are wiped out
by three pledges.

I peer into the years ahead:
The bluster and lies have fled;
the fragranced love grows thick.
Your perfume comes through me
as I inhale your holy breath.

Meanwhile, I see something behind your smile:
The lion of Judah has roared a roar of love,
and the rooster now is dead.

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About Charles Redfern

Charles Redfern is an ordained clergyman specializing in healing and conflict transformation. He lives with his wife and son in Connecticut.

View all posts by Charles Redfern

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