On the concurrence of Good Friday and the Feast of the Annunciation

There is a stone beneath the tree
She kneels before. The Sun shines down and she
Is mute before the endlessness, the joy
Of what the voice has whispered to a longing heart.

She was a mother, is a mother
Who, before the stone, sun warmed,
Recalls the pangs, the writhing pain
Of birth, the twisting of the shearing spear
That rent her flesh and cleaved it.

She is a mother, was a mother
Who endured each lash that life delivered
To a child misunderstood by everyone. She kneels
Before the stone, recalls when she was not afraid,

She weaves a crown for a forgotten wedding day;
With hands that tremble plucks the thorns
From roses white and fair, despises them.
She whispers lullabies, a ragged voice from cursing.

"He comes, behold, he comes in glory tender."
And Gabriel his hand upon her shoulder,
Beneath the canopy in sweetest shade
They wait for silent stones to rise up – weeping.

With red raw hands she clutches at her breast,
And still the scent of cassia upon them,
Of nard she could not scrub away, the odor
Like the failure of a promise made of straw.

She is a mother, reaches for a vessel;
Pours out wine upon the ground and prays
For water pure  to wash away the foulness
Of death, to wring a river from a linen shroud.

Even Gabriel beside her weeps,
Cannot tell her not to be afraid, he chokes
Upon the tide of pain that washes up,
A flood of gall that rises in his throat.

There is a stone beneath the tree
She kneels before. The Sun shines down and she
Is mute before the emptiness, the pain
Of what the voice has whispered to a broken heart.

Her joy poured out like flows of blood
And water, just as his poor sundered flesh
Now imprisoned by a stone; no angels’ song
Or sound of braying beast to bid him welcome.

“He comes, behold, he comes in glory blazing.”
There, beneath the tree whose shade grows dim
The beginning and the end converge in silence,
The fulcrum, creaking from the rafter, pulls.

What difference between swaddling and a shroud
When a mother’s hand has wound them both
And stained them both with tears of joy or pain? Or
That by a carpenter’s skilled hand the frame was built,

Both the manger and the cross made to receive him
Unforeseen? There’s no small irony.
Her face she lowers to the ground, and prays
For a swift hail of stones to end her pain.

Here these two in sorrow stand, old friends
Whose memories swirl around the air like ash
Or dust shaken from the scrolls where prophets’
Shadows wait, smile knowingly and sing.

Wait, O Lady, patiently, to bear him.
For he shall bear you also to the throne.
And in these final hours while your grief flows free
Take sweet Gabriel’s hand and weep for me.

© Karekin M Yarian, 2016