tenebrae service

In March my darkness rose with the temperatures
As crusted snow turned to slush and daylight hours grew in length,
Until here, at month's end, I find myself facing
An unforeseen Good Friday:

Hours turned from prayer and vigil, departing lighted hours,
Turn from the initiation of Our Lord's Supper, when wine in cup
And bread in hand became memorial, before memory was needed,
Turning towards hopeless hours.

To remember:
There, in the midday minutes, memory became necessary.
Tenebrae settled in darkest reality, the inexorable
Extinguishing of the Light of the world, snuffed down

To a single candle's trembling flame--
When all the world hung from a tree, dripping blood,
Water pouring out, spilled on the dusty soil,
Vanished in the lavish violence of love--

Gone, lamented, we are left bereft.
Old, withered hands, prominently veined, reaching out in the darkness
To steady themselves on pews and the sturdy shoulders
Of younger energies--still

We wander in the darkness,
Existential and utterly material. I reach
My veined hand out, hopeful despite its fearful self--
Do I dare remember?...

Easter came a week ago--risen indeed?--annually lily-white;
Yet these dark hours find me still, always,
Searching for perennial meaning, sifting through these
Ashes and palm husks in the fading light.