Holy Saturday, bodily

in tree roots 2000.jpg

During a llama-packing overnight trek outside Portland, Oregon, 2000

Holy Saturday is an in-between time when Jesus’s body is just lying in the earth, in darkness. He had said he would fall into the soil like a seed. But how can a mutilated body become anything fruitful?

Years ago, when I was in campus ministry, Holy Saturday coincided with Earth Day. The students & I decided to join in a cleanup project at the West Branch Forest Preserve, on the outer western reaches of Chicagoland. Later I wrote a poem.

Holy Saturday
Earth Day 2000

We ride this scar of a road
to a deeper wound where limestone
was quarried from your bone–
a gouge filled now with water,
murky and teeming
with fish carrying secrets.
Today we tend your wound,
walk its perimeter like nurses
noting signs of infection;
we scoop up wrappers, cigarette
cartons, cups. We walk,
gaze, marvel like a lover
come in from a routine errand
overcome by sudden sight
of the loved one’s body in sleep,
its blurred hills, breath
entering and departing,
window light spreading
cross-shaped shadows on blankets,
skin and scars, and gratitude
rises like a shout as we pause
and take a stick to scrape
mud from our shoes.

* * *

showy sunflower

In the yard of the first home that I owned by myself, I planted flowering native plants. These are showy sunflowers, Helianthus rigidus. They grew up from thin little stems to bloom fiercely throughout late summer & most of the fall. So they’re not seasonal at this moment, but they’re signs of hope.

I think Holy Saturday is a day to be in our bodies, & in Earth’s bodiliness. For tending what seems dead–or is dead–& waiting for resurrection.

Author: ruthgoringbooks

Poet, writer of children's books, artist, editor, lover of Colombia. Poeta, escritora de libros para niñxs, artista, editora, amante de Colombia.

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