The Ninth Hour

[This is one of my favorites and I thought a rather daring piece both because of its topic and style. I have decided at this time to not fully explain this poem but if I feel it becomes too often misunderstood than I will. I wouldn’t presume to be able to explain why God would allow what the person in Part I went through but the point in comparing and contrasting their experience with the death of Jesus on the cross is that through Jesus’s death and resurrection, God can redeem anything we go through- even our worst nightmares that were all too real- and heal us in any way needed.]

 

 

Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

Part I

This night creeps
With thoughts of you
Your entrance
As unwelcome as my fear.

This night
Could not know enough darkness
To hide me from you
To show you all of the evil
I have come to know.

I would pay the ransom
Of any demands
To be found anywhere but here
Amidst the chaos
Of your unholy desire.

But again this night
Is slow in its travels
And I am going nowhere
Lost among you
Entrenched by your commands

As you wish my rest
Anything but good will,
Feeling you can in some way
Prove you are some kind of man
Professing your love
Among the innocents;
But your actions this night
Are confessing to the unholy fire
Of your unholy intents.

And I will not admit
To possessing full knowledge
Of the consequences
Of your reprobation.

After all, my youth
Has betrayed me
Placing my hope on probation
And I am quite unable
To prevent you,
Or to understand
Why you do it.

My tears
Are my only defense.
My heart
My only companion
Save the rain
Falling inside my soul.

But you would not give ear
Even if you could hear

Even if you did care

About me!

My rage is as unimportant
To you
As my voice
My age is as nothing
Before you
My submission
Is your only choice.

Though I have never surrendered
Always
You have forced me
To remember
You.

It does not behoove you
To make promises
In the midst of your shame
And it does not move me
Among these premises
For words of love
To wear your name.

Did you really think
I wanted to come to know you
And all of your strength
In this way?!

To see your face
In the black of night
And to have your eyes
Haunt me in the light of day?

Can you really believe
You know what is best for me
When all that you reveal
Is the worst of you?!

And the questions
You will never answer
Weigh much more
Than my understanding,
No matter how
You try to secretly serve
The god of your infamy
And to keep in good standing
You are ever exposed
In your ignorance
Your words are always transposed
Into the shame you are
Before and since

And all I want from you
Is

Severance.

This night is every night
This night is every day
A realized nightmare
Without wings to fly away.

This night tells me
Again
That you are everything
I never want
And nothing
I ever need.

And tomorrow will avail me
More scars on my soul
Compelling me even more steps
Away from being whole.

This night
You have robbed me
Of more than my innocence.
You have taken more
Than what I have never offered
More than what you could ever afford
And the mites of concern
You have proffered
Have no resonance.

I was never meant to become
What your hands have created
You have left me unloved
And undone
Unbecoming to all eyes
And I have been forced to succumb
To all that I despise
About you.

I do not ever want
To imagine your thoughts
For I have already felt them.
Now there is a horror inside me
Unknown by any movie
There is a terror beside me
That has left my soul bruising
And my greatest fears
Are not even those of my own choosing.

Every moment
Is now my labor,
Not something to savor.
Every hour costs even more
Than the one before.

What am I to do?
Where am I to turn?
And just how
Can these tears be unlearned?

Who am I now?
A child?
A daughter?
Or a lamb
Impelled to the slaughter?

I can no longer
Behold my face
In the mirror
And I cannot conceal
Every trace of my tears
I know of no one
With which to completely entrust
With how I feel.

How much longer
Can I travel on feet
Wearied by these wounds?
And just how much stronger
Will my impairments become?

Will I ever arise
From this tomb?

Part II                                                                  

The Crucifixion of Jesus
Photo by Wolfgang Rottmann on Unsplash

 

I am kneeling
At this place of loss
I am reeling
At the scars you have been caused.

And it is beyond all feeling
To be near your disgrace,
For my eyes to reflect
The very look on your face.

Your love is falling
As drops of blood
The ground is now rising
With the flood.

I hear you calling,
But I can hardly
Perceive your form.

I was often found stalling
Before this hour,
To allow my heart
To partake of your words.
Surely you knew
That for the demise
Of my greed
You were born.

But my greed
Pierced your side
And my sins
Took your life.

Can I take back
The deeds
That tore you into pieces?

Can I have back
The choices
That abhorred your name?

This hour
My words are useless,
I long ago judged you
Unworthy of my presence.

Yet you were imprisoned
So that I could know freedom.

Your name suffered
From a faulty reputation
So that I could be redeemed.

Your lips,
So empty
For much of your affliction,
Your hands so sullied
For my heart’s contrition

I dare not look
Into your eyes,
Even if I could see
Beyond your tears and mine.
I once mistook them
For something I despised,
But you never made this mistake
And searched for mine anyway.

You are loving
In spite of me.

I find myself
Beholding your shame
And it seems so familiar
As if you took mine
Upon yourself.

How I want to hide myself
And my soul’s abundant poverty
From one with such wealth.

I would offer you my breath
If I had any to give
But you took it away
With your body’s last attempt to live,
Gasping for air
That is not there,
Begging for help
That is not near.

You are forsaken,
Forlorn in your efforts
For peace to hear.

You have suffered
At my hands
You have known pain
Because of my demands
For ways not worthy of you.

Your face marred
More than any other
So often my face
Had turned too hard
To bother my heart
With anything but admonishments.

You are unbecoming,
But who you are
Slowly becoming
Is beyond all astonishments.

The sun yields its place,
Darkness overcomes you
And the veil is rent.

You enter the tomb
As my heart ends its race
Far beyond spent
And I now understand
That in all of my affliction
You were afflicted as well
And you made my grief
Your acquaintance
Your thoughts were upon me
Even when I was poor and needy,
Even in my lowest hell.

Your light comes forth
And you lead my captivity captive
As you lift my eyes
To meet your face

Now as my darkness
Succumbs to you
I long only for a name
Other than mine

To know of no other place,
No other time
But the love
Of your embrace.

I am no longer lost in weakness
But found in your power.

Forever
You have become
The health of my countenance,
The hope of my heart,
The redemption of every hour.

2 thoughts on “The Ninth Hour

  1. You are astute and right in your observations, Jeff. There are several phrases and terms that are intended to connect both parts of the poem. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  2. Chris, I can tell where you got some of inspiration for this poem: “Will I ever arise, From out of this tomb?””Scars”… “drops of blood.” I like the references that shoot us to Christ!

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