So you are a king?

Haiku for a trial

The procurator
knew what the job demanded;
kept the lid on things.

Pontius Pilate
found the case most perplexing;
called him in again.

Let’s not mess around:
Are you the king of the Jews?
How will he reply?

Jesus answered him.
What do they say about me,
what makes you ask this?

Hey, I’m not a Jew!
Your own people turned on you;
what is it you’ve done?

It’s not from this world,
my kingdom. No, otherwise
we would be fighting.

My kingdom is found
in another realm, where peace,
love and justice rule.

So you are a king?
Pilate keeps on questioning,
cannot understand.

All earthly kingdoms
self-destruct, bring only pain
and futility.

This worldly kingdom,
wherein we dwell, is rooted
in greed, wealth and fear.

For this I have come,
to speak truth. Listen to me;
let me be your king.


© Ken Rookes 2018

So you are a king? A group of Haiku

Nazareth’s native
handed over for judgement:
an unlikely king.

The foreign ruler,
intrigued, probes with his questions,
but gets no answers.

He asks, Are you king?
The charge is laid against you;
what, then, have you done?

Where is your kingdom?
You won’t find it around here.
Then again; perhaps.

Try looking harder,
opening your heart, your mind;
God’s reign has come near

For this I was born,
for truth I came among you;
listen to my voice.

So you are a king?
The question hangs in the air;
each one must answer.

© Ken.Rookes 2015

and a follow-up poem, that takes us a verse or two beyond the RCL reading.

If he fell over it

For two thousand years
Pilate has been asking:
What is truth?
Like most people of wealth and power
he wouldn’t recognise truth if he fell over it,
or if it stood before him.

© Ken.Rookes 2015

A question of identity

It is a question of identity.
If you are . . .
Is this not . . ?
Who is this . . ?
Who do you say . . ?
So, at the end, when he is paraded
for judgement, before the governor,
the tetrarch, and then the governor once more;
the questions continue.
Who are you, carpenter;
are you a king?
Will you perform for us a sign,
a something that will set our minds at rest;
or speak for us a word that will seize us,
a truth that will change our living?
No answer is given;
only silence.
The words have long been spoken,
scattered alongside the road, in villages,
kitchens and lake shores.
Some were heeded,
some discarded;
there will be no more.
One final message remains to be uttered.
It is not new, but a repetition
of the oft-spoken word
by which the man has shaped his living
and wrought his identity.
It will not be voiced by lips and tongue,
but by his body, suspended
and reaching out.

© Ken Rookes 2013



Truth; does it still exist?

What, indeed, is this stuff;
the subject of the pilatean enquiry
nearly two millennia ago?
A large group of self-appointed custodians
recently forfeited any claim
to represent truth,
having betrayed their Master
by placing the needs of reputation
ahead of the fruits of compassion and justice
of which he was wont to speak.
They were not the first.
There are others, so caught up
with notions of what is and is not correct,
that they become blind to what might be true.
We squeeze it, push it,
poke and prod it into strangely shaped vessels
that can never properly contain it,
and then express our surprise when it bursts out,
spilling its disquieting trouble
over those standing too near.

We search anxiously for something convenient
with which to wipe it away.
Like the Roman governor
we don’t really expect an answer to our question.
The prisoner’s silence serves us well;
we welcome the stillness,
pretending that it is the same as peace.
But our evasions remain incomplete,
and in the determined hush
the remembering persists.
We recall his teachings, his defiant words
that tell of hearing and seeing and reaching.
Other tales intrude too,
including his own troubled story,
about to be made complete
with betrayal, bleeding and weeping.
The stories stealthily invade our silence;
to weave around and through a living parable
catching us up into his unavoidable truth
with all its disturbing expectations.
© Ken Rookes 2012

A bit of a work in progress. I may return to it later in the week.