Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Sister’s Testament

I cried the night
he died and was put
behind the rock. I
who once threw stones
at him in childish anger
playing in mud.
He was always there
when the boys caught
me alone in the alleys
and put their hands on me.
They feared his strength.
But I loved his kindness,
and how he treated me
more than what they said,
a stupid girl with ideas.

I ran to the marketplace
but was held back the time
they stoned
and went to hurl
him from a cliff.
I saw him walk unhurt
through the furnace
of their anger
and their beards
ate dust. When he left
for the desert,
I could not go.

I heard stories
of healing the sick and dying.
Hard to believe stories.
When he came back
with those who followed,
he spoke in the synagogue.
You are free, he said,
God the protector
of widows and orphans
is alive and among you.

Spittle flew in the air
from the teeth of the elders
and those who read Torah.
They said he had no authority
to speak about God.
Our mother and brothers
begged him for silence
and to return home with them.
You have a demon, they said.

What did they hear in that voice
to fear? I was not afraid.
His eyes drained me like oil
from the lamp, and when
the oil returned, a new flame burned
where the old one had flared.

What he asked was not possible,
but his eyes of mercy
took the burning
shame from my face
and sorrow from my fingers.
I followed to Jerusalem
and saw how the stories were true.
What he did for the outcast.
The coughs and groans of the sick
did not grate my ears. The sick
and dying looked into my eyes
and their faces glowed
like sunset, those I once
would have seen as old men
and women to pity or despise
for their weakness.

I will not repeat
what you have heard.
Before they killed him
like a thief,
I washed his feet and hands
with oil and tears
and wiped them dry with my hair.

Each day I pray in the Temple,
pray for the evil to end.
We feed and help the poor and the widows,
poor and rich, dead and alive,
brother and sister, there is no difference.
From a Father who loves even the hateful
and diseased and brings hope for
the despised, the outcast, any who fear
death from the strong
or the hand of the violent,
he has risen like a song
from winter trees
on a morning after sorrow.

(c) copyright 2012 Charles David Miller. All rights reserved.


  1. Absolutely beautiful, Charles. I thought to write something like this when I first saw the prompt, but opted to go with one of my other heroes. No doubt, Jesus is my number one hero when all is said and done. Thank you for sharing this wonderful write. It is simply awesome!

  2. charles you def steal the show the perspective you gave of the woman from the stoning of my fav him writing in the dirt...and so wish i could see what it said...i can only imagine...and the one that was moved to annoint his feet i imagine she smelled of her worship for a week...very cool write man....

  3. Wow. Charles, an extremely powerful piece lined with so many allusions and images that come to life here. The religious tone here is outstanding, it's not simply a poem about religion, but a poem that exudes what you would want out of poetry infused by religious heroism. Outstanding job, thoroughly enjoyed the read. Thanks

  4. Charles - what you did here is so wonderful, such a blessing, this is truly a keeper. I love this. Thank you my brother!

  5. What a lovely tribute. I was hooked from the first line. Jesus was a man well before his time. His legacy of love will always endure.

  6. A true hero indeed... and a lovely tribute. I really like:

    Spittle flew in the air
    from the teeth of the elders

  7. Really beautiful close. The song rising from winter trees.

    This is a comment from Manicddaily - ( I don't know why it won't always take.) K.

  8. A beautiful poem... certainly inspirational.

  9. Charles, this is an astonishing biblically inspired write. I sometimes wonder about these women of the New Testament: were they all the same Magdalene, or were there a number of them. In the end, the women stood faithful. Nicely recounted.

    1. It is commonly thought that the woman who washed Jesus' feet before his crucifixion was Mary Magadalene, which is okay by me. But there's also the possibility that this was another woman follower. I exercised some poetic license to imagine another possibility, that she was one of Jesus' sisters (or a sister). We know he had family, but besides his mother, father, and brother, we do not hear much about them. I don't know whether they fell away from him and thought him insane, but we do know that Mary his mother and his brother James did accept him. I also don't know whether later redeactors of the Gospels edited out mentions of other family members. However, the story of a sister who loved Jesus as both human and divine spoke to me very much, so I followed her voice as it sang to me one day.

  10. this is a wonderful write charles...he's my hero as well...when she washed his feet is one of my fav stories as well cause it so beautifully underlines that those who've been forgiven much, love much..

  11. I left a comment on Laurie Kolp's poem earlier today along the lines that I have often ascribed genuine hero status to the ‘man’ who was actually Jesus Christ; being very human and seemingly subject to Human frailty, but, in the end, the absolute hero. This is an epic poem, Charles. High praise.

  12. A fine serious work about the truth behind the mystery of faith, and humanity itself. If only your last stanza really was the way it is, everywhere, or even in a few more somewheres, I might not be an atheist today. Fine writing, and luminous with a personal truth that crosses the heart's lines, raises the spirit and comforts the mind, as all poetry should.

    1. You are absoluelt right to point out how much the Christian churches have failed to live up to the message preached by Jesus. I myself could not reconcile this and other factors with reality and was an atheist, though a seeker, for a long time. Then something happened that I simply could not explain, and over time I found that the Love that can love the most despised amongst us also could forgive me. With that Love I was then able to begin healing and to find meaning in the Bible and in Jesus' mission on earth. Thank you for your kind comments. Atheism is a frame of mind I greatly respect and believe that I understand. It is obvious that your atheism is open to new experiences and new realities. That is what I would call a blessing.

  13. Chaz, this was written with such sensitivity; a tale retold inspired and inspiring, of love on the highest plane. Who is not in need of forgiving and forgiveness....It's a write that almost forces self examination...a poem that reveals and teaches, if you let it. The more I read of your beautiful poetry, the more I believe you are THE poet of the blogsphere. Thank you for sharing this most excellent work.

  14. @annehedonia13 could not enter comment in the Blogger UI so is allowing me to publish it for her:

    "I love the image of a lamp being drained of oil and refilled to burn rather than flicker. A true & beautiful conversion image.”