Sunday. The first day.

Haiku for upending

Sunday. The first day.
The sun returns from beyond;
light chases darkness.

They come to the tomb,
the women, aching, faithful,
to honour their friend.

Bringing their spices
they come to prepare his corpse;
their duty of love.

The stone had been moved.
The open entrance calls them;
Come, see my surprise!

The tomb is empty,
His broken body is gone,
spirited away.

Two men, shining bright
in robes that dazzle the eyes,
come and address them.

Why look in a tomb?
The one you seek is alive!
Remember his words.

The women returned,
(there were at least five of them),
but they weren’t believed.

Peter, however,
wanted to see for himself,
and ran to the tomb.

Only the grave-clothes
were there to be seen. Peter
returned home, amazed.

A tomb that’s empty,
a man no longer present:
should we doubt or hope?

How shall we respond
to this story of wonder,
and to he who lives?

 

© Ken Rookes 2019

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Into your hands

Haiku of the end.

They arrest Jesus
decide upon the verdict,
begin the trial.

Taken to Pilate,
He is accused of treason;
by his own people.

A Galilean,
you say! He’s not my problem;
take him to Herod!

Jesus the healer!
says Herod, all excited.
Show for me a sign!

He keeps them guessing,
refusing to play their game,
keeping his mouth shut.

Pilate resists them,
He has done no wrong. Flog him,
then we’ll let him go.

The crowd shout him down.
Pilate, lacking conviction,
lets Barabbas go.

Beaten and broken
Jesus staggers ‘neath his cross.
The Cyrene bears it.

The inscription reads
This is the king of the Jews.
A king for us all.

They are mocking him:
If you are king, save yourself!
The soldiers join in.

Two others also,
criminals, guilty as charged,
are hanged there with him.

The one also mocks.
The other entreats: Jesus,
do not forget me.

At three he cries out,
Father. I am in your hands!
and draws his last breath.

The crowd return home,
beating their breasts, questioning,
What is it we’ve done?

 

© Ken Rookes 2019

Riding a donkey

Haiku for an uncertain entrance.

Riding a donkey
defiantly confronting;
they do not like it.

Cry out with the throng,
make with your loud hosannas.
Return in five days.

Here he comes! Jesus
with his words of costly love;
we do not want them.

Beware, you who rule,
serving powerful interests:
Jesus is coming!

© Ken Rookes 2019

Bethany friends

Haiku of love

His Bethany friends
make him most welcome; again.
Jesus is grateful.

Brother Lazarus
reclines at table with him
Martha is serving.

Mary! Ah, Mary.
What are you about to do
to demonstrate love?

Mary comes, bringing
a pound of costly perfume;
pours it on his feet.

The fragrance lingers,
along with indignation:
What outrageous waste!

Such extravagance
and squander! T’was better sold
and spent on the poor.

Returning her love,
Jesus speaks to defend her;
She has done no wrong!

This beautiful gift,
images her love for me;
soon I will be gone.

The poor will remain
to provide new occasions
to demonstrate love.

Gather what remains,
save it for my burial;
it comes soon enough.

 

© Ken Rookes 2019

The man had two sons

Haiku of grace and resentment

The man had two sons,
Loved them both. The younger one
was eager to leave.

My inheritance,
give me my share now, before
I become too old.

When your years are few,
the party goes on and on;
while the money lasts.

All good things must end.
The cash gone, the boy must work;
starves, while the pigs eat.

Heading for his home,
practising his ‘sorry’ speech:
I am unworthy!

Dad is delighted,
his son is back. Let’s party;
kill the fatted calf!

The older brother
spits the dummy. All these years,
not even a kid!

I am deserving,
my useless brother is not;
I won’t celebrate!

You know I love you,
my Son, you’re always with me;
all that’s mine is yours

Your brother was lost,
now he’s been restored to us:
we have to rejoice.

Try not to resent
the unworthy who receive
their moment of grace.

Remember, you too,
though unworthy, profited
from moments of grace.

 

© Ken Rookes 2019

To become fruitful

Haiku for gardeners

Rotten stuff happens
to both good and bad people;
it’s not punishment.

When people suffer,
have empathy; don’t blame them
for imagined sins.

These words are for all;
reflect on where you’re headed,
be ready to change.

A vineyard owner
plants a fig tree, comes looking
for fruit. There is none.

Three years to produce
and still the tree is barren.
Let’s get rid of it.

The gardner shows grace.
One more year, some manure
and care: Let’s see.

Always one more chance.
So our master seeks for us
to become fruitful.

The chance to bear fruit;
justice, love and hope-filled peace.
Always one more chance.

 

© Ken Rookes 2019

O Jerusalem!

Haiku for those who will not.

O, Jerusalem,
greatest city of them all;
most to be pitied.

The Pharisees warn,
Get away from here, Jesus;
Herod wants your life.

O, Jerusalem;
entitlement and power,
keenly defended.

The perfect venue
for the killing of prophets,
O, Jerusalem!

Jesus will return
to the great city one day,
to meet destiny.

Jesus is weeping
for Jerusalem’s children,
who turn from God’s love.

As a hen enfolds
her brood with protective wings,
so I would love you.

Yet you would not come.
You made your choice, live with it;
I have done my best.

One day you’ll see me
and shout: Blessed, he who comes
in the name of God.

 

© Ken Rookes 2019