Thursday, August 08, 2013

The Sword

Lately I've been reading Sheldon Vanauken. In "A Severe Mercy" he references the story of a Hebrew woman named Veronica, who supposedly wiped Jesus' brow while he was carrying his cross to Golgotha. I'd never heard of that before. And I can't stop reading this sonnet he wrote...

The Sword

Yes, Mark was posted to the Tenth that year.
The day we got there priests contrived to bring
This 'god' to death, and mobs that made me cling
To Mark surged round us, all one mocking jeer.

No omen warned me when Mark led me near
The yelling street that I should be implored
By God to wear my girlhood like a sword
So edged with mercy men would freeze in fear.

Mark's armour made the crowd draw back a space.
Just there beneath his cross the god limped by.
I saw his eyes and rushed into the street
Through sudden stillness wiped his face.
"My child," he said and staggered on to die.
- My girlhood lay in fragments at my feet.


samara said...


As an aside, "A Severe Mercy" is one of my favorite books of all time. Such a beautiful, tragic gem. And I can't help love the bits about Oxford... he articulates them so well.

Rose said...

Samara, I just finished reading about their years at Oxford...what a dream.