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La Pieta* ...Post-Easter Lament


*La Pieta (above), Michelangelo’s sculpture of Mary holding the dead body of Jesus

(Blessed are they that mourn...)

Once more (with resurrection hymns
still ringing in our ears) we gather
at the cross upon a dust-swept hill

while all around us
frenzied fathers search through
bull-dozed rubble and bombed-
out buses for precious bits
of bone and skin

as mothers weep and cradle
the bruised and broken
bodies of dead children

wrapped in swaddling clothes
they keen them to their graves

while in that mid-night sky,
a military jet drones by
ferrying its precious cargo:

four, flag-draped metal
boxes bearing someone's
children (killed by friendly fire)
flying homewards where
yet more mothers weep and wait:

In such a setting,
no time to sing of resurrection.

And so, we bow our heads and
sing slow songs of mourning
as once again, we pray:

"Forgive us, Father ...

we know not what we do."

- Leona Dueck Penner