I unearthed another poem from my deep archives that I wrote for a creative writing class I took in high school. In other words, I wrote this over 30 years ago. The assignment was to write a sestina, which dictionary.com defines as “a poem with six stanzas of six lines and a final triplet, all stanzas having the same six words at the line-ends in six different sequences that follow a fixed pattern, and with all six words appearing in the closing three-line envoi”. Annoying, right? Yeah, it really was. But I did the best I could with this ludicrously complicated poetry format. Here’s what my 17-year-old self came up with.
Julie first saw the sorrow of Jesus
in bloody marble on tarnished wood.
Stained glass windows poured forth crimson
and beautified the hand-molded pain
that twisted the face of the fallen man-god.
Mother told her to pray, not cry.
But she wondered how Mother did not cry
when she thought of precious Baby Jesus
inflicted with the power of God
cold and writhing in a cradle of wood.
Julie had never felt such pain
as she saw all around her in that temple of crimson.
In line to taste the chaliced crimson
wine whose bitter taste made her cry,
Julie soothed her inner pain
by dreaming that a noble Jesus
had given blood as a donor would
at a blood drive run by God.
All the while, Mother knelt in fear of God
whose grotesque world made Julie’s face flush crimson
as she fidgeted on splintered wood
of rotting pews and fought an urge to cry
out her belief that poor dead Jesus
had been plagued with unfair pain.
Julie sensed the burning pain
that backed her mother’s praise of God
and prayed herself to Baby Jesus
so hard her once white flesh went crimson.
Reviving, she let out a sudden cry,
“The awful things that God has done, poor Jesus never would!”
Suddenly, Mother’s face went stiff as wood
as if to hide away her inner pain
and Julie knew she wanted to cry
but crying was a sin against her God.
So with tears that flowed from eyes of crimson
Julie wept aloud for Mother and for Jesus.
Together, Julie and Mother cried that night in frightful pain
one for love of Baby Jesus and one in rage the depth of crimson
that her daughter’s love for God had died like so much burning wood.