Part Three: Holy Saturday

Poet and Senior Teaching Fellow John Dennison and artist and staff alumni Juanita Madden bring you Holy Saturday’s offering. The Collects and Readings are taken from A New Zealand Prayer Book, Lectionary Cycle Year A.

Holy Saturday by Juanita Madden

The manner of your leaving
By John Dennison

So much is known, and is beyond us still:
leave we must, beloved, until

we are gone from here, and the tree hangs
its empty nests for longer than it takes

to fill them, the dusk empty of birdsong
and the city committed to the ground of its unforgetting.

We cannot say how, so that some
are gone already, beloved, even one

I played with as a boy, a man I loved
in my unthinking way; I admired

his skill, overlooked too much his gentleness.
And these memories (this poem, dear reader!) also

must take their leave, be left by the minds
that cling to them unrelieved; but exactly how,

in what sheet-winding procedure,
body and spirit come unstuck

is too much for simple time to reveal,
except in the unsticking, the winding. Dust

is a dead metaphor; and the theme repeats
its variations, of which this is one: what suspense

remains is the manner of your leaving—is that it?
That is not it. And we don’t have a choice

in the matter! When all is said and done,
stand weeping outside the tomb,

beside the rolling stone, see
the God-forsaken winding sheets,

in the manner of your leaving.

(first published in Otherwise, Auckland University Press, 2015)

For Reflection

Psalm 31:1–4, 15–16
Job 14:1–14 or Lamentations 3:1–9, 19–24
1 Peter 4:1–8
Matthew 27:57–66
or John 19:38–42

Grant O God,
that we who are baptised into the death
of your Son Jesus Christ,
may continually die to sin
and be buried with him,
that through the grave and gate of death
we may pass to our joyful resurrection;
for his sake, who died and was buried
and rose again for us,
your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ.

There is much disruption, uncertainty, and hardship in the world. What might you need to grieve and bring before the Lord?