33 Poems for Lent: III, IV

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For Lent this season, our friend Andrew Roycroft (pastor and poet from Northern Ireland) has adopted the medieval practice of writing thirty-three poems, each thirty-three words long—one word for each year of Jesus’ life. Together, they form a constellation of commentary on the Gospel of John. To begin Lent last week, we shared with you the first two. Each week until Easter we will share more—here are poems III and IV.

III

“When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.'”
—John 2:3

The last drunk wedding dregs
seem an unlikely place
to set a sign,
but such wine bloodied waters
will make glad the hearts of all
who taste
the ripe glory of this Vine.

IV

“Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.'”
—John 2:19

And so this fabric
will come asunder,
yield to deconstruction,
unravel all that was
so skillfully knit in conception;
a frail, torn down house,
whose ruin hints at hope
beyond its tattered veil.

This is an image from The Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript of the Gospels from the 9th century. This particular page is the first from John’s gospel: “In principio bid erat verbum” translates to “In the beginning was the Word.”

Click here to read Andrew’s first two poems for Lent.

And here to explore Andrew’s blog.


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