The last day

Haiku of the passion

Lord, we are your friends;
You’re everything to us:
we’d never betray.

You’ll all desert me,
but don’t dwell on these failures.
There is always hope.

Even you, Peter,
so stop your protestations;
you will deny me.

Take my body-bread,
this wine, red like my bleeding;
my life, shared for you.

Facing his fears
while his weary friends sleep on;
praying all alone.

Jesus is betrayed,
arrested and put on trial.
There is one outcome.

Who are you, Jesus?
Are you the king that some claim,
the promised from God?

It has been settled.
He walks to the killing place
where his cross awaits.

They laugh and they mock,
they taunt him as he hangs there,
silent, accepting.

His work is complete.
He takes his final breath, sighs,
and lets it all go.


© Ken Rookes 2018


Haiku of the end.

Should we pity him,
Judas, called Iscariot?
He made his choices.

Eat my body-bread
and drink of my red wine-blood;
remember my life.

Even you, Peter,
you will also run away;
three times denying.

In garden prayers
he asks to be delivered.
His companions sleep.

They come with clubs, swords
and a resolve to end it.
He is arrested.

Tried by Caiaphas,
convicted of blasphemy.
Never any doubt.

Taken to Pilate
to receive his death sentence;
this King of the Jews.

Silence, his answer,
he calmly accepts his fate;
trusts himself to God.

The crowd finds its voice.
Convicted and condemned,
he is led away.

The cross is shouldered,
and taken beyond the gates,
to the killing place.

There is no mercy.
The man is fixed to his cross
and lifted up high.

The skies are darkened.
A cry of dereliction
signifies the end.

They mounted a guard
at the entrance to the tomb:
what did they expect?


© Ken Rookes 2017

Jesus before Herod: a haiku sequence

A king called Herod
looks down from his lofty throne;
he has the power.

He smiles, curious,
having heard rumours and tales;
wonders if they’re true.

He requests a sign;
but the man stands silently
and gives him nothing.

The monarch persists,
hearing the accusations,
asks: What do you say?

No words are spoken.
Jesus stands before the king,
waits for the next step.

Treated with contempt,
he is robed, mocked and dismissed.
Your problem, Pilate.



© Ken Rookes 2016.


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

Why do you strike me?

He spoke his truth in places
where all could hear,
without any concern for caution.
Recklessly trusting in the God he called Father,
his courage could not be questioned,
bringing its own accusation
to those who had compromised. The voice of integrity
receives an uncertain welcome.
Truth is an expendable annoyance,
a disturbing inconvenience
for those who worship at the altars
of power, wealth and fear;it will be dealt with.
Speaking openly and passionately
of love’s primacy, the man is unbending,
apparently unconcerned about the consequences
of his unauthorised utterances.
When finally Jesus is brought to account
he answers with the same disregard
for the opinions of his accusers.
A local walloper in the service
of the chief priests and Pharisees
feels compelled to strike him on the face
for his presumed disrespect.
Why do you strike me
when I have said nothing wrong?
he asks on his own behalf,and perhaps for the sake of the millions of innocent
speakers of truth
in the centuries before and since.
Hold firm, Jesus,
there is worse to come. 

© Ken Rookes 2013


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