The Stations of the Cross

by Patrice M. Wilson

I.	Pilate Condemns Jesus to Death

Innocence curls up in a tight ball,
Takes the fetal position in His heart
After fatal words have been spoken.

This is how life ends,
This is how it begins.


II.	Jesus Accepts His Cross

Something tells me in my soul
That I must carry a terrible burden,
More than the weight of my own death.

Mother, I hope you do not see
me like this but you are surely l
somewhere in the crowd.

When I was younger, I carried 
Cut lumber, nailed joints together.
I cannot judge all the carpenters
That fashioned this cross,
But deep in my heart,
Because there is sky,
I know someday I will.


III.	Jesus Fall for the First Time

A Taunting Bystander:

“See, you rogue—
You haven’t the strength 
For the full heaviness
Of your own treachery.

Get up, Son of God,
Claim your rightful heritage.
Arise and let the sun 
See your wretched face
In the shadow of your cross.

Let your God
Prevent further falling—
See, as you slip
There is no soul 
To assist you.



IV.	Jesus Meets His Mother

Mary:

As I look into your face,
I see a boy grown
Into this horrible age.

For thirty-three years I
Have followed your footsteps,
New steps always,
As if you constantly 
Began your life
With journey.

When you were one,
You walked
For the first time.
At four you stepped
On a nail—
I tended the wound.
I thought “accident” 
For that stray nail
In the back yard—
What should I think now?

When mothers give life,
They also give death—
My son, can you forgive
The onslaught of this night?

Yet when the Father gives life,
It never ends—I cannot rejoice
Now, but maybe some soon morning
Will give you back to me.


V.	Simon the Cyrene Helps Carry the Cross

They fear you may die early on the road.
They want your life ended at the end,
Not now.

But surely, they don’t want me—
I have no claim to godhood.
Why should I do this for them?

Yet the Roman soldiers command;
I have no sword in my hand,
Only your sad face that grips my heart.



VI.	 Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus 

Veronica:

I wept as I ran 
to Him, stumbling up
the street to Golgotha.
My veil and I decided
To offer Him
A sort of torn towel.
He looked into my eyes,
The holiest of faces
Imprinted on my heart.

Later I found traces
Of that visage
On what used to hang
From my head.
Lord, God, I wept again
And not only my heart
But also my whole self
Kept his great love
As their only covering.



VII.	Jesus Falls for the Second Time

Once again, Your knees and hands
Meet unholy ground, splitting Your skin
Jarring Your bones, this unholy ground,
Hallowed now by Your unexpected touch.


VIII.	Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

Like everyone,
We have so little to give You—
Our tears, our children,
Whom, as You said
We will weep for.

From the dark clouds,
The lightning, and the rain
Of God that will come
When you die,
A beautiful blossom
Whose stem we should like
To pluck it from
Will be covered with thorns.




IX.	Jesus Falls a Third Time

Three is where I come from,
Trinity of My Life, Myself.
For a third time my face
Is in the dust; I can hardly budge
this crossbeam strapped
against My shoulders.

O God, You own the dust
Of earth, the stones 
That will make My tomb.
I know my death will 
Not be quickly done.
Each step begins my agony
Over and over again.


X.	Jesus Is Stripped of His Garments

I write of giving,
Of the inability to give.

They took from Him—
Think of this—even His clothing.

What indignity we would suffer
Without even one item
Of all our outer garments.

O Lord, let my soul be naked
Before you always,

As Your stripped body,
About to die, was sinless,
Even then.


XI.	Jesus Is Nailed to the Cross

There is no love
In nails through flesh,
Iron through the delicate 
Tissues of hands and feet.

How could they have done this?
The same question we ask
Each time sin
Seems to be the winner.



We each would have died
From the first hammer strike—
No, even before then, 
When the orders were given.

Love, give us back our bodies,
Free of pain and death.
And yet you did do that—
We will rise with You

And in the mean time,
We will never be the same.


XII.	Jesus Dies on the Cross

“O death, where is thy sting?”  (I Corinthians 15:55)

It is there
With Jesus,
Nailed to the cross,
Dying.


XIII.	Jesus Is Taken Down from the Cross

Pietá

The sword that shall pierce my heart
Is now. Your birth was so much easier,
I held you in my frail arms,
And you kicked and cooed like an angel.

Your grown life, now without breath,
Stiffening, cooling. My heart is wiped out
Of my breast, where you rested your 
Head so many times, so many years.

Let my heart stop—it has no more words.
All my fears have stolen You from me.
I have followed You everywhere,
But this place hardens me
Like the wood from which they just
Took you down, to my helpless arms.


XIV.	Jesus Is Laid in the Tomb

He went where we go.

Lord, take us where
You go. Lead us beyond
Grave matters, to the light
Beyond Your body in the tomb.

Wake us later, with You
In the open garden,
Free to grow any good flower
That blooms into a lovely life,

For you, not for us. You
Who went where we go.
Lead us to the angels.

Born Catholic in Newark NJ, raised in Catholic schools, Patrice M. Wilson has a PhD in English from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, having earned her MA there and her BA at the University of Maryland, College Park. She was editor of the very fine Hawaii Pacific Review for 16 years while teaching at Hawaii Pacific University. She has three chapbooks of poetry with Finishing Line Press, and one full-length poetry collection with Christian publisher eLectio Publishing. Dr. Wilson recently spent five years in the cloistered Carmelite monastery in Kaneohe, HI. She is now a retired professor living in Mililani, Oahu, HI.

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