Gethsemane

Abba, Father, I am so afraid!

Have I not all your commands obeyed?

Then let me live, oh! Do not let me die!

Could you have been a better son than I?

 

Although I go to you, there will be pain,

exhaustion, sorrow, loneliness and shame,

a lamb to slaughter. Mighty as you are

you’ll watch me perish and not interfere.

 

Get thee behind me, Satan!  Even now

you tempt me to forsake my sacred vow

to suffer so that all may be redeemed.

I am not now so weak as first I seemed.

 

Friends will scatter.  Some of them will stay:

my mother, John, the women on the way

to Golgotha, a blessed stranger fetched

my cross to bear until The Skull be reached

and one will keep this body till I wake

in three days’ time, when Love has conquered Death.

Pilate

Who do people say that I am?  A tyrant

who would not have hesitated to put to death

a rabble-rousing troublemaker?  That I was.

I could be moved by those with great resolve

for did I not display that I could bend

at Caesarea?  Many Jews were quite prepared

to die because my soldiers wore an image

of Caesar, now a God as well as man,

a god whom men created. So when came a man

who claimed to be the Son of God, I knew that he

would die for truth, although he did not answer

when asked, ‘What is that?’ I had asked in earnest

for, indeed, I did not know.  I felt that, surely,

he could tell me. Even good men lie.

His friends did then, and later, when they said

they saw me weaken. There was no Jewish custom

that would release a murderer and thief

at any time of year.  They must have thought

that my successors would have been less harsh

if Rome was shown to heed their superstition

and pander to it. Nor was I afraid

to send him to be scourged and nailed, not I!

My wife did dream that dream

wherein an angel told her that this man

was special. What do women know of men?

They play no part in influencing us

and I ignored her ravings.  He was handsome;

perhaps that swayed her, that, or his charisma

for why should men and women both have followed

a man who went so willingly to his grave

when all he had to do was tell a lie?

I soon forgot him.  Prefects have much business

to occupy them.  Fake gods come and go

and so do men.  My turn came, too, that day

when my own sword would end me. Strange how then

I saw this man again.  He smiled and thanked me

for helping him to God, though God he was.

I never felt the pain. I fell and rose

for, in that moment, even I was saved.