Mary’s Other Song


A poem for Good Friday


If I hold my hand against the wood, flat, like this
I can feel your breathing. Slow.
I remember Labor. A mother does.

At least, I think that is your breathing I feel.
on the other hand
I am feeling the Earth, moaning.

When I kissed the soles of your feet in the manger
they were soft.
You kicked and giggled
with those pudgy arms out
at right angles to your little body,
pounding straw.
Like they are now, but soaking wood.

Now I feel those same feet on my head
So much walking. Callouses. Dust to dust.
Spent on humanity.
On being With us.
And the rose-blossom around that spike.
“Lo, how a rose e’er blooming”
“From tender stem hath sprung” a cross-beam.

I remember that night, three decades ago.
Shepherds, wise men, angels.
It was noisy.

And here now are we my sweet boy.
And John the Beloved one.
The morning sky livid sky in
rose crystals, blues and mauve.
For now, choking back our Halleluiahs
like hairballs.
With an eternity of sentient beings.
Even the sun mourning the Son.

Here waiting with John, your friend.
He just keeps staring up at you;
wood in both hands.

One cross.
Thirty fingers.
Two holding wood
the third clutching iron.
We three.
Waiting for dear life.
For life, Dear.


by Charles LaFond


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Hi. Just curious about this sculptural art piece you posted as a depiction of the poem. As an art history student (and an Episcopalian), just wanted to note that typically in artwork, Mary Magdalene, the devout and beloved apostle, is depicted weeping and holding on to the foot of the cross, not Mother Mary. And thought was based in the gospels?

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Jon White

Matthew, Mark, and Luke all relate that the women who followed Jesus, including his mother and Mary Magdalene looked on at the crucifixion from a distance. John's Gospel has Mary, the mother of Jesus, and the "beloved" disciple at the foot of the cross with Jesus. The poem and artwork (created by the same person) takes that passage as the inspiration.

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