a sestina for good friday

waiting beneath the cross in pain,
she looks up at her dear son, loving
him still, wishing that his display of compassion
could have been for her alone,
as if, perhaps, he had been for her a normal son,
and bringing her flowers on her birthday.

but instead, this is a birthday,
measured out in deep sighs of pain;
and he gives her another son,
whom she will now start loving,
as her own, so she will not be alone,
but have one to share compassion.

and John, who always knew this man's compassion,
cannot think of this as a birthday.
he finds himself, with his love lost, all alone,
and in himself, in his own pain,
wondering if this an end to loving,
and not quite ready to be a substitute son.

this is a king, not just any son,
a man who is showing boundless compassion,
whose true display of what loving
involves, gives every heart a birthday,
a way out of one's own pain,
and an end to being always alone.

but still, on this day he is alone,
mocked for being God's son.
he never thought that this pain
would hurt quite so much. what a price is compassion!
oh, to return to a childhood birthday,
embraced by a family with loving.

and so he creates a new loving
family, concerned they will not be alone.
and for the world, a new birthday,
as if we have all received a new son,
and a mother, and the depth of compassion;
a courage to pray in time of pain.

with this birthday we defeat pain,
in this compassion we are never alone,
by this son, we start our loving.

poems i have written: