For those who love music AND poetry, please paste into your browser the link below to be taken straight to a recording by Amemptos Music Limited of Simon Mold’s piece “Chaconne for the Fallen”…which is also my poem “Merciless Day”. Simon’s work has earned him the accolade of Composer of the Month for the Central Composers Alliance. Now enjoy a few minutes’ thoughtful music that expresses a longing and hope for peace.
The world wakes with a chip on its shoulder –
Reluctantly. Too chill, too soon
Between cold clouds the stars grow colder.
By the light of a cruel, one-eyed moon
The iced ribbon of road runs into the sky,
As merciless day cracks open:
A grudging window of heavy-lidded grey.
Now soft night shatters; sleep is broken.
Rooted in earth, black trees stand, darkly
Bearing the weight of recrucified Christ.
Suspended from stars, stiff branches hang starkly
On thousands of Calvaries where soldiers have diced,
On thousands of mountains where troop tanks have rolled,
In thousands of valleys where armies have moved
To thousands of Bethlehems where peasants untold
Have given up first-born and babes they have loved.
Kyrie eleison! O, deliver the war-torn.
O when will be your true morn?
O bring us your new dawn.
© Lizzie Ballagher
This poem has been set to music by composer Simon Mold as part of a 100th anniversary World War 1 commemorative requiem mass. It was performed in various UK venues in 2014 and in 2015 and is now recorded by Amemptos Music Ltd
on the album A Treble’s Voice sung by Oliver Barton.
This is the last in a 15-poem sequence I wrote for the Via Crucis or Way of the Cross – a meditation on the events that led up to the joyful morning of the first Easter Day. I hope I’ve captured the joy of the Resurrection. A happy Easter to all who follow this blog, and may joy and hope come to those longing for change and new life.
XV JESUS RESURREXIT SICUT DIXIT –
JESUS HAS RISEN AS HE PROMISED
After the long shadows of a darkened Friday,
After the sorrows of a Sabbath tasting of bitter herbs,
Now leonine light bursts out roaring in a blaze of untamed joy,
In the brazen fire of angels trumpeting over the empty tomb:
For Christ the Lion of Judah has arisen from the gloom.
Proclaim it now across the blank,
Closed rooftops of Jerusalem; shout it now
Over the whitening wheat-fields past the town:
Dry river beds all dusty now shall run with rippling streams;
Young folk shall see visions, old folk dream great dreams.
The grain that the sower planted has sprung up for the harvest;
The bread they broke on Calvary has fed all hungry, humble mouths.
Olives bud to life; once withered branches now grow fruit.
The barren shall bear their babes at last; the Shepherd
Shall find his sheep. The weak—the lame—shall walk and leap.
Our Father’s voice: the deaf shall hear it now unsealed.
Those with deep wounds, with blood congealed,
Those who are frail—all shall be healed.
The tongue of the dumb shall loudly praise him.
For Jesus our Lord from death shall raise them.
Shout it loud across the rooftops of Jerusalem;
Proclaim it over the whitening wheat-fields past the town:
The promise he wrote on our broken hearts,
The promise he made on our inmost parts:
This new-made Covenant—now, even now it starts!
© Lizzie Ballagher
In the West, many people (including some in the media) seem to delight in denigrating old people. That makes me sad, and not just because I’m more than 65 myself.
In “The Blackthorn Speaks”, published this week on the back of Far East Magazine, I’m appealing for a more merciful view of the aged. Looking at blackthorn trees near home in England, and remembering many more in Ireland, I wrote this poem some years ago and have copied it here for you now.
Thanks to the Columbans for the beautiful photography.