The tomb’s emptiness

Haiku without limits

The tomb’s emptiness,
underlined by an earthquake.
Still confounding us.

Two faithful women,
don’t need spices as a prop,
visiting the tomb.

Its all a bit much!
An angel is sent to clear
away confusion.

The stone has been rolled
and the guards have all fainted.
Do not be afraid!

Instructions follow.
Come and see, then go and tell:
Your Lord has been raised!

Fear mixes with joy,
strangeness and uncertainty.
What are we to think?

Suddenly he’s here.
Do not fear! Go, tell my friends
We will meet again.


© Ken Rookes 2020

Love’s duty

Haiku of the dawn

The Sabbath had passed.
They came to tend to his corpse,
to confront their pain.

The three: Salome,
the Marys, women of faith,
doing love’s duty.

As the sun rises
they bring their aching sorrow,
their baskets of spice.

Who will roll the stone?
One more barrier to face
and to overcome.

Look! The stone is gone!
Come inside the dark unknown,
discover the truth.

A youth dressed in white
greets them, Do not be alarmed!
Not much chance of that!

The tomb is empty.
What are we to make of this?
Does he really live?

Mark leaves us with doubt,
bewilderment and terror
as they flee in fear.

Posted for the Narrative Lectionary in response to Mark’s story of the empty tomb

© Ken Rookes 2020

We are born, we die.

Haiku of joy and sorrow

Near Jerusalem,
Bethany, place of welcome;
Martha and Mary.

Brother Lazarus
is ill. They send for Jesus.
He doesn’t hurry.

Twelve hours of daylight,
nobody needs to stumble
if they see the light.

Lazarus is dead.
Much grieving with many tears;
Jesus weeps with them.

Your brother will rise.
I am the resurrection.
Trust in me, and live

Yes, Lord, I believe
that you are the Messiah,
the Son sent from God.

Mary comes and kneels.
If only you were here, Lord,
he would not have died.

We are born, we die.
Cycles of joy and sorrow;
we all must face death.

It’s overrated,
bodily resurrection;
there’s a time to die.

Jesus prefigures
his own dying and rising,
raises Lazarus.

© Ken Rookes 2020

Natal Narratives

Haiku for a birthday

History retreats
as the birth stories unfold,
highlighting wonder.

Natal narratives,
much loved by card designers;
but no shepherds here!

Matthew takes Joseph,
scripting him the leading role,
puts him centre stage.

Found to be with child!
Mary; what to do with her?
Joseph measures up.

As the story goes
an angel helps him decide,
to do the right thing.

The child, he is told,
is conceived through the Spirit.
Most improbable!

Hooray for Joseph!
By obedience and love
the story proceeds.

The child will be born
and the course of salvation
will not be hindered.


© Ken Rookes 2019

Song of Mary

Song of justice, song of peace,
song of struggle, song that pleads,
song to stir the anxious breast,
song that brings the weary, rest.
Song that speaks into the pain
song to bring us back again.
Song upon the lips of Mary,
song to make the rich folk wary.

Song of revolution shout,
song to throw the despots out.
Song of promise for the poor,
song that opens up the door.
Song to ring across the nations,
song of reconciliation.
Song of blessing from above,
song of unexpected love.

Song for widow, orphan, stranger;
song to celebrate the anger.
Song of laughter, song of tears,
song that challenges the fears.
Song of trouble, song of strife,
song of hope and truth and life.
Song that overturns the wrong,
sing with Mary, join the song.


© Ken Rookes 2019


Haiku of grace

Martha and Mary:
the sisters receive Jesus
and make him welcome.

Someone has to cook the food,
Marha is busy.

On the other hand,
Mary is quite indolent,
list’ning to Jesus.

A gen’rous spirit
is key to any welcome,
but Martha complains.

Lord, do you not care?
she protests, asking Jesus
to judge between them.

It’s all right, he says.
Mary hears my words of grace;
you should listen, too.

Jesus’ correction
is not without affection.
One thing is needed.

It’s about choices,
every day we make them;
choose grace ev’ry time.


© 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