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The Magazine: Fluent in Thunder, a poem for Holy Week

The Magazine: Fluent in Thunder, a poem for Holy Week

by Charles LaFond

Fluent In Thunder


It is hard to imagine what She felt that week.


She covers the planet in green, brown, blue

and every color of the rainbow-reminder.

She waves as wheat.

She swoons as flower.

She bears the massive responsibility of air as tree.

She waits as water.

She paves as grasses.

She makes food as vegetable plants;

growing for the hairless bipeds

whose rich seek to destroy her and whose poor

have little access to her food.

She lays majestic as sand making life

even when life seems impossible or unlikely.

She warms as earth even as she warms as sun.


She too was there that day at the cross,

whispering breeze and speaking thunder so fluently.


She provides small holes in which there is birth and metamorphosis.

Only the humans scream – most of her females bears life in the

same silence in which God does.

She eats and processes what she eats as billions of

worms, bees and maggots, making mulch.

She freezes molecules of ice between molecules of rotting wood,

splitting them apart so that soil may appear over time;

which is her great friend.


It is hard to imagine what She, the natural world, with a body

of green and blue, undulating in the chaos of growth,

felt like

that week

in which humans plotted and planned

the destruction of the Loving-Truth-Teller

the One with soft skin and kind eyes.


Creepy-clergy-climbers could see He needed to die.

Political leaders of church and state,

afraid of their smallness, could see He needed to die.

Counterfeit monks and artists could see He needed to die.

Religious competition could see that He needed to die.

Thousands of savior-impersonators could see that He needed to die.

Scribes in their book-forts could see that He needed to die.


But perhaps only She could see that part of God which God

implanted in her and also in Him:

the ability to die and then, after waiting in silent darkness, live again.

Perhaps She could see what would be Jesus’ emerging

simply and precisely because she experiences it so often,

so casually, so cyclically, so naturally.


As Nature, she could recognize a being whose nature was life,

even if occasionally interrupted by being

cut with a scythe

or starved of water

or denied food

or choked on fumes

or poisoned by chemicals

or left alone to die.

Nature could see that all would be well, even if weird or stinky.


And yet, as Jesus began this Walk this week,

navigating princes, principalities and powers

in majestic silence,

head down,

looking at the planet’s crust for his


She looked back and she wept through

her smile into his eyes. “Keep walking on me. I feel your feet.”


And then, in a few steps again she speaks his language;

“Jesus, king of kings, show them what we are.” She whispered

in her feminine voice of breeze, missed by influent scholars

as male voices accused

in their insecurity; little boys in big togas, punching at the One Who Is.


And Jesus, looking down at dirt, saw God and remembered the

mountain-side chats they used to have before the Great Silence;

remembered divine encouragement,

inhaled, and allowed the story to unfold, just for the next 15 minutes, and the next, and then the next – the way we must live in those times.


And so Nature and Jesus let life unfold in

manageable segments, 15 minutes at a time

in horror

in increments of a few minutes

when night and day were too long a stretch for the unfolding.


And then, as whips hit flesh, the blood spattered onto Her grasses,

As the nails hit bone, the blood spattered onto Her rocks,

As the fever-sweat dripped down wood and slid silently into dirt and around maggots from past occupants.

And as His eyes rolled back into a sacred socket-darkness,

and as saliva dropped onto a lone dessert flower emerging from the rock,


After dawning every day at God’s agreement for existence to Be;

after mornings and mornings of her request for life were again and again granted by the One,


She almost died.


And in her fight to stay alive, God flared up inside her

and in her revival she She clouded over

and thundered blue-black, like his bruises,

just to show Him, with closed-eyes, that she was still there.


He could see Her stormy darkness even under his closed, sticky lids

and felt the chill of the brief desert-night as Nature commiserated with Jesus


And his question,

about whether or not

God had abandoned Him

was answered.


We think God was silent.

Perhaps only because we are not fluent in thunder.



The Reverend Canon Charles LaFond serves as Canon Steward of St John’s Cathedral in Denver, CO.  This poem originally appeared at his blog, the Daily Sip which offers the beauty of a photograph and the consideration of a very short meditation meant to provide spiritual food from Monday through Friday.


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Tenneson Woolf

This poem utterly moves me. It makes so much more of this holy week story available and accessible. Thank you Charles. I have shared this with many friends and colleagues that are Christian ministers from various denominations.

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