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


Martha and Mary

Four Haiku

Martha and Mary
once had Jesus to dinner.
They made him welcome.

In the kitchen’s heat
Martha worked hard, worrying;
all must be perfect.

Mary, listening,
sits at Jesus’ feet, eager,
dining on his words.

Jesus loves them both;
but, called upon, says Mary
made the better choice.


© Ken Rookes 2016

In Bethany: a haiku sequence.

Dinner for Jesus
in Bethany with his friends.
the end approaches.

Martha is serving,
Lazarus sits with Jesus,
Mary is Mary.

Mary takes perfume,
pure nard, big and costly;
pours on Jesus’ feet.

Feet are wiped with hair;
the house is filled with fragrance,
devotion and tears.

Here, too, is outrage.
“A years wages are wasted;
what about the poor?”

The poor need our help,
and so much more. Loving acts
demonstrate love’s truth.

“My death approaches;
her anointing is timely.
Let her be,” he says.

Mary’s wasteful gift
is received with gratitude
by one who knows love.


© Ken Rookes 2016

Try clicking on the video Leave her alone on the bar above.

The poem Leave her alone is found here

It is actually Here

Leave her alone

I wrote this poem about three years ago, and I think it is among my best. I posted the video last year, and it can be accessed throgh the toolbar at the top of the page. People might find it helpful for Sunday next, and for the Monday in Holy week

Leave her alone

An action unexpected,
a pouring seeming haste,
a moment for a spilling
of recklessness and waste.
A gesture for defying
the frugal and the wise;
a splash of beauty’s perfume
bringing tears to the eyes.
The jar of alabaster
holding ointment thick and sweet,
its suffering and death
spilled over tired feet.
With crying and with touching,
love’s cavernous caresses
embrace the teacher’s weary heart,
and, wiping with her tresses,
in devotion spends herself
with carelessness and weeping;
the man is strangely grateful
and grasps the loving deeply.

Things there are, so beautiful
they can’t be bought or traded;
with wasteful generosity
the vision’s never faded.
And beauty is an odd thing,
not understood by all;
and loving, even queerer
for those who miss her call.
Some simply fail to comprehend
and good souls take offence;
the teacher talks once more of love
and speaks to make defence:
The poor are always present
to test your loving’s power;
this gift she has created here
is precious to this hour.
Our time on earth is given,
one day we’ll all be gone;
my burial is waiting now:
Let be, leave her alone. 

© Ken Rookes


And wiped them with her hair

Mary of Bethany,
sister of Martha the industrious
and Lazarus the once dead.
How she loved him,
yearning in silence
having determined to be content
with the sound of his words
uttered in company.
He was unlike any other.
Had convention permitted,
she would gladly have left her siblings
to join his itinerant band; perhaps then
she might steal a few minutes of him
for herself. Was that being selfish?
Never fully understanding herself
and driven by something deeper than desire
she resolved to claim her few minutes
Flouting convention, common-sense
and good manners, Mary went in to her beloved
where he sat at the table,
taking a bottle of fragrant perfume
along with her heart.
The former she poured with extravagance
over her beloved’s feet.
With her hair, her hands.
and the same breaking heart
she wiped her beloved’s feet,
and wept for love. 

© Ken Rookes