Descending Theology: The Garden

I pushed Mary Karr’s wonderful book Sinners Welcome on you at Christmas. Allow me to push it once again. This is “Descending Theology: The Garden” from a five-poem cycle on the life of Christ.

Descending Theology: The Garden

We know he was a man because, once doomed,

he begged for reprieve. See him

grieving on his rock under olive trees,

his companions asleep

on the hard ground around him

wrapped in old hides.

Not one stayed awake as he’d asked.

That went through him like a sword.

He wished with all his being to stay

but gave up

bargaining at the sky. He knew

it was all mercy anyhow,

unearned as breath. The Father couldn’t intervene,

though that gaze was never

not rapt, a mantle around him. This

was our doing, our death.

The dark prince had poured the vial of poison

into the betrayer’s ear,

and it was done. Around the oasis where Jesus wept,

the cracked earth radiated out for miles.

In the green center, Jesus prayed for the pardon

of Judas, who was approaching

with soldiers, glancing up—as Christ was—into

the punctured sky till his neck bones

ached. Here is his tear-riven face come

to press a kiss on his brother.

Mary Karr

Past Posts