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

He came, touched by God.

Haiku for those who dare to hope

He came, touched by God,
sharing human pain and death;
brushing us with love.

The aching sadness.
He’s gone, along with our hopes.
Can life endure death?

The promise of life,
our hearts strong with excitement,
crashing to the earth.

We weep for ourselves
as we shed our tears for him;
lifeless in the tomb.

Is anything left
from the storehouse of his life?
Was it for nothing?

A few words remain
from his wisdom and stories;
let us remember.

Surely not the end!
Darkness, hatred and fear
must never prevail.

Dawn’s radiant light
confronts insistent darkness;
will it overcome?

We have heard rumours,
we want to believe they’re true,
that somehow he lives.

Go on, look within
for the resurrection glow;
incandescent love.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

A group of Easter haiku

Third day Haiku

It is the third day.
The Sabbath has concluded,
now we anoint him.

Empty tomb haiku

The tomb is empty.
Nothing will be found inside;
except mystery.

The women: Haiku

Returning, they spoke
of what they had heard and seen.
No one believed them.

Idle tale haiku

The women’s story:
not taken seriously
when they told the men.

Mary. A haiku.

Mary Magdalene;
witness to the empty tomb.
Can this mean he lives?.

 

© Ken Rookes 2016

Rising

 

For seven weeks the season called Easter
stretches out, long after the eggs
have been divested of their foil
and the chocolate has been consumed.
It persistently recalls the mystery,
as we read, in episodes,
the story of women and men
who met unexpectedly with their risen Lord.
Luke, teller of good news,
offers us a sometimes ghostly,
sometimes fleshly, Jesus;
both of whom lead us to renewed wondering.
We hear, again,
the familiar but unlikely resurrection tales,
and are faced with the same worrisome possibilities
of all past Easters.
The narratives call loudly,
and reach deeply,
as the spirit of Jesus invites us
to take our part in the great ongoing drama.
He challenges us to take courage,
to walk his road of love and forgiveness,
and to carry in our own bodies
the defiant confrontation,
determined hope,
and costly sacrifice
that may yet redeem the world.
 

© Ken Rookes 2015

Good news story No. 4

 

Thomas the questioner
refuses to accept the unbelievable:
Good for him!
I’m there alongside Thomas;
let some of the criticism
that gospel-teller John sprays in his direction
paint my body, too.
In the end, we are told,
when he meets the impossibly revitalised
person of the man he had watched die,
Thomas puts aside his scepticism.
I suppose I would, too,
if invited by the risen Jesus
to touch his hands and side.

The good-news purveyor
writes of a resurrection far beyond
encounters with the risen Jesus.
There are generations
who will not have opportunity
to comprehend with their eyes,
but who will be none-the-less be blessed
with believing, perceiving, rather,
in their hearts.
They follow resurrection’s improbable promise
of justice, hope and love;
treading with faith
that foolish and costly path through death,
towards life.

 

 

© Ken Rookes 2015

While it was still dark

While it was still dark
the smallest something began.

The match flares;
its flame might catch,
or it could sputter out, unfulfilled.

In the shadows ahead of the rising sun
a woman follows a path through the trees;
hope has abandoned her.

It had been her painful duty
to watch the man die;
she knows that the darkness is thick and heavy.

Alone she comes,
with only the soft glow of love
to guide her feet to his tomb.

Hers will be a final act of devotion,
a sacred ministration to one she worshipped,
even though he cannot know it.

As she comes near to the place.
the beginnings of the dawn intrude,
to wash the garden with their dull light.

The shadows grow weak and diminish,
and the day begins to be reborn.

 

© Ken Rookes 2015

Disciples of the outer-circle

Let me join you, Thomas,
out here in the outer-circle of disciples;
along with other questioners and doubters.
Here I shall make my home among those
for whom creedal recitations
and orthodox affirmations
seem increasingly less relevant.
(Discipleship, we all know, has only one test.)
Our wonderings will be loud,
and our speculations wild and free;
none shall be offended,
perhaps not even God.
In our outer-circle orbit,
always at risk,
we will repeat the stories and tell new ones,
and do our best to love into reality
the kingdom of which the Master spoke.
Defying the sadness and the fear
we will announce in word and deed
the mysterious presence of He who died.
I like to think that we would do so
even if the tomb had not been emptied;
and, if, one day,
the Master’s earthly remains were to be found,
it would make no difference.

© Ken Rookes, 2014

All they could do

All they could do,
the gospel writers, and those
who crafted the stories before them
was to grope in wonder after some words.
Words to convey even a shining edge
of the full mystery. So they wrote of angels
shimmering with white, and an earthquake
that shook the very foundations of both earth
and heaven; and of the surprise
of a disappearing man who could not be grasped
but who was strangely with them still.
Of the impossibly empty space that death
had once occupied. They told of a stone,
the removal of which would have required a forklift,
that had apparently been flicked away
by a divine finger. They wrote of unsurpassed joy
and of hope that had been conjured ex nihilo.
They told of embracings, of illuminating journeys
and intimate dinings, of unexpected recognitions
and equally bewildering disappearances.
Their stories included the elements of honest fear,
uncertainty, and disbelief;
as if to underline the wonder.
One who they had loved,
in whom the Divine One appeared to dwell,
and who, they all attested, had been killed;
was somehow present. Living. Decades on.
All they could do was grope
in the diminished darkness, and hope
to find some words.

© Ken Rookes

In the breaking of bread

In the breaking of bread
the Lord is known.
The human-shaped God
takes the hospitality of heaven in his hands
and distributes it to his friends.
“This is for you,” he says
looking into the eyes of the hungry.
“This food is me. Take me deep inside
your eyes, your head, your heart and your belly.
Take me into your dreams and your struggles,
your fears and your waking thoughts.
Take me deep into your cryings
and your rejoicings. Take me as you journey
towards the wonder of love
and the mystery of grace.
Find me deep within your sharings,
your yearnings, your laughings,
and the fullness of your life together.
See me with you in the loneliness of dark night
and when you close your eyes
against the blinding light.
See me; even when I disappear.
This is for you,”
he says.
 
© Ken Rookes

Emmaus journeying

We often walked, Cleopas and I
to Jerusalem,
and back home again.
We knew the road well,
the hills, the dusty gravel,
and the places where,
on a hot afternoon,
we would take our shaded rest.
Our conversation helped to shrink
the couple of hours, briskly walked.
On that afternoon we stumbled
through the seas of silence
to awkward islands of
repeated, unanswered questions;
our bewilderment taking shape
in clumsy words.
 
It could be busy enough,
that humble track,
so we were hardly surprised
when the stranger caught us up.
He gathered our questions
with each stride,
reshaping them unexpectedly
and tossing them before us
until the road ahead,
and the one upon which we had journeyed
these recent years
became clear, confident
and joyous.
 
The stranger is gone now,
yet his words remain.
The landscape upon which we journey
may be strange and unfamiliar,
but now we know where we are going. 

© Ken Rookes