.

She burns to bear his burden (take the weight)
But he is far beyond her guiding reach.
Beyond her soothing arms, he meets his fate.
Her heavy heart has nothing left to teach…

For these are not his first steps; they’re his last.
His skin (once kissed and dressed by her) is flayed.
His gouged and bloodied flesh leaves her aghast.
If only they’d embraced his word and prayed.

Bright eyes that mirrored smiles of her raw joy
Now brim with woe for those whose ways aren’t true.
Her soul, it holds the message of her boy—
Forgive them; for they know not what they do.

Her feet, nailed to the spot (instincts denied)
Consumed by pain, she watches… c r u c i f i e d..

.

Susan Jarvis Bryant is a church secretary and poet whose homeland is Kent, England.  She is now an American citizen living on the coastal plains of Texas.  Susan has poetry published in the UK webzine, Lighten Up On Line, The Daily Mail, and Openings (anthologies of poems by Open University Poets).


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45 Responses

  1. Cynthia Erlandson

    Susan, thank you for this somber meditation on the unimaginably painful experience Jesus’ mother had to go through on this day.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Cynthia. A very happy Easter to you.

      Reply
      • Sally Cook

        Susan –
        Your sonnet is a nice mix of empathy and personal expierience. And, coming as it does, during this season of redemption and renewal, is
        perfectly appropriate
        Congratulations !.

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        Sally, thank you very much for your lovely words. A very happy Easter to you!

  2. Margaret Coats

    Wonderful title and focus, Susan! “How can she watch?” is the question that necessarily comes to mind. At the turn of this sonnet, where you turn to look closely at her eyes, lines 11 and 12 are remarkably well placed and well spoken. Eyes are the windows of the soul, and the quote, “Forgive them . . .” is surely Mary’s prayer as intercessor and mediatrix of all graces.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Margaret, I am thrilled at your response to my poem. My heart and soul went into this one, and it is the only poem that has caused me to shed tears while writing. I am honored to have captured some of the unimaginable pain that Mary must have gone through as she watched her son endure the cruelest fate for our salvation. We have an awful lot to be grateful for. A very happy Easter to you.

      Reply
  3. Gail

    The only thing you can do at such a moment is stay and watch. Nonetheless, everybody dies alone.

    Reply
    • C.B. Anderson

      Alone, indeed. Even He. And He said as much when He cried out: Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani.

      Reply
      • Gail

        Love that. I also love to recall the mercy toward His Son in that the darkness was such that no one would have been able to see his own hand in front of his face. None of the hateful were gratified by the sight of their hope’s fulfillment. Makes me wonder if the dark of hell was nostalgic for them when they met it. I hope so.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you very much, Joe. From one who has written some beautiful poetry of late, that means a lot.

      Reply
  4. Norma Okun

    Her soul and saying she carries the message of her boy. I thought it was also a message for her personally and also universal. I always felt she comforts me and many mothers whose children are not with them. Great poem Susan.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you, Norma. Your observation on mothers is touching. I had my son in mind when I wrote the words to this poem… I drew on my maternal instincts to try to imagine just how Mary was feeling. I am glad you liked the result.

      Reply
      • Bethany Mootsey

        As a mother of little ones, this poem resonates with me. The line about not his first steps but his last and the subsequent line about his flayed flesh both got to me. Thanks for making my Good Friday more meditative.

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        Bethany, thank you! A very happy Easter to you and your little ones.

  5. Julian D. Woodruff

    A moving vision of the universal meaning of Our Mother’s pieta. Thank you, Susan

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Julian, thank you very much for your lovely comment, and a very happy Easter to you.

      Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Brian, “beautiful and painful” is exactly what I was trying to achieve – so your brief comment holds huge weight. Thank you! A very happy Easter to you!

      Reply
  6. C.B. Anderson

    In some ways, Susan, this is the deepest poem of yours I have yet read. How does it feel to slip out of your lighthearted persona for fourteen lines? You seem equally adept at engaging both the light and the heavy, a sign of great character, in my opinion.

    Reply
      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        Gail, you’ll be pleased to know I’m smiling 🙂 Thank you for all your comments here on SCP – you make the place that much brighter. Now, I’m making you squirm lol. Wishing you a very happy Easter!

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      C.B., I really appreciate this. Thank you! Answering you honestly, when I slipped out of my lighthearted comfort zone, it felt daunting yet wonderful… I often avoid such heartfelt seriousness… it’s a place I don’t have much fun traversing… but, I really think doing so will benefit me as a person and as a poet.

      Reply
      • C.B. Anderson

        Yes, it will, Susan. Moreover, it will benefit all of us who get to read the results of your stepping out of your comfort zone. Remember this (to misquote a passage from the Gospels): In my Father’s house there are many comfort zones. Follow your calling.

  7. Jeff Eardley

    Susan, I cannot add to what others have said. Beautifully written and the perfect message for this special time of year.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Jeff, thank you so very much. I’ve heard the weather is quite beautiful in the UK. I hope you are able to get out in the sunshine and have a very happy Easter!

      Reply
  8. Sandi Christie

    “Forgive them for they know not what they do” is the forgotten message of Jesus, the message lost in the dogma of Christianity where many use religion as a ruler to judge their neighbors instead of practicing the simple teachings Jesus gave the world.

    “Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37-39”

    The world would change if we could learn to forgive and love instead of judge and hate. The mind would reach heaven in a heartbeat. Thank you for this message, and in perfect iambic pentameter. Lovely poem, as all of your poems are.

    Reply
    • C.B. Anderson

      Perhaps, Sandi, if I were a god or even just a close relative of one, I would always turn the other cheek, but in this world I cannot afford that divine luxury — other persons depend on me, and, if necessary, I must strike back to preserve family, decency, honor, and my very life. I love good neighbors, and I have lots of them, but bad neighbors are not to be tolerated.

      Reply
      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        C.B., I agree with you. The world is getting more dangerous by the minute and I believe everyone is on tenterhooks… all because many think the government is the answer to our prayers.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Sandi, thank you very much for your thoughtful and beautiful comment. The world would certainly change if we could learn to forgive and love instead of judge and hate. In this day and age where the powers that be pit people against each other for so many different reasons (many of them invalid and immutable) it would serve us well if we stopped listening to the draconian elites and turned instead to the one true power for our guidance and inspiration. I believe we would be much more likely to forgive and love if we did.

      Reply
  9. James A. Tweedie

    Susan, Our two poems frame today like bookends and join our hearts and tears with those of Mary. And yet we celebrate the day as Good because of the victory that came from it. So, there are tears of joy as well.

    A moment captured in the art of painting and sculpture, but more perfectly etched into memory by words, of scripture, of course, but also by inspired poetry.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      James, it’s an absolute honor to be published alongside you on this divine day and I love your observation on Good Friday… you are absolutely right on the “victory” front. We have an awful lot to be grateful for. It is, indeed, wonderful to capture such biblical moments of magnitude in poetry, and I am heartened at the response there is to Easter on SCP. Here’s wishing you a very happy Easter!

      Reply
  10. Sandi Christie

    C.B., you do not know of your own magnificence, but God does. He knows you as pure spirit, as he created, not as the body that lasts for a few seconds (in the scheme of eternity) and is gone. The light that God put in Jesus is in everyone waiting to be found. Jesus was able to forgive because he looked past the body and saw only the pure light of God in everyone. He knew his reality was spirit, and not the body. He knew the bodies that attacked him had no idea what they were doing, who they were or who he was.

    I didn’t come here to stir up trouble or debate God. I know who you are, and you ARE as magnificent as God himself, and one day you will know that as well. If you choose to believe otherwise, that is your choice. Peace.

    Reply
    • C.B. Anderson

      Aw shucks, Sandi. Nobody ever said nothing like that to me before. You made me feel like in a few minutes I’ll be on a first-name basis with ol’ God, sitting down together as equals. Maybe you’re right, though. If God is perfect, then why would He stoop to create something that is less than perfect? The more I think about it, the more I am inclined to believe that you have the right attitude. But there still are transgressions I would not be willing to forgive. I’m not perfect yet.

      Reply
      • Sandi Christie

        C.B., the spirit within you IS on a first name basis with God and knows him well because that spirit is not separate from Him. You said it, when you said, “if God is perfect, then why would he create something imperfect?” Obviously, the body you are in is not perfect or “permanent” so it cannot be the “real” you. What you are is eternal, perfect and just as magnificent as God himself. Don’t take my word for it. Ask Jesus to come into your mind and tell you. Spend 10 or 15 minutes with him and ask him to show you the love of God. Be sincere and open. You might just be surprised at what happens. Peace and love to you my brother in Christ.

  11. James Sale

    Wonderful poetry, Susan. Along with Theresa Rodriguez, you are becoming one of my favourite sonneteers! The last line is brilliant in its consummatum est.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      James, I am truly humbled and honored – thank you very much… and a very happy Easter to you!

      Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      David, thank you – “a perfect sonnet for Easter” is high praise indeed. I hope you had a happy one.

      Reply
  12. Bing Fischer

    Thank you so much for this. It touched my heart and I felt the need to share so I spoke it on my radio show tonight for my opening.
    I only hope I did it justice as written.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Mr. Fischer, I am thrilled to hear my poem reached a wider audience via your radio show. I am certain you did it every justice and I’m pleased it touched your heart. Thank you very much for letting me know. I am humbled and honored.

      Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you very much. I’m glad the words reached out to you. With much appreciation for your comment.

      Reply

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