The Poem

When the Elder hungers for revelation,
a vision shines out from his stone:

a Galilean face seen head-on,
but only the visage’s left half,
dark and earthy, a master descending,
warring eye and bulging cheekbone.
From Praetorium to Golgotha, he
without losing his dignity, only his cross—
taken up for him by a Samwise.
Dignity he holds, till nails pierce it
and a spear sends it gushing.

And then the vision changes:

a lapdog seen in profile,
a soft-featured Spaniel,
gentle “Love me” eyes,
their needs pulling
stronger than a riptide.

Again, the stone’s lunar light
morphs; the vision changes:

a woman robed, seen from
waist-up, quarter-turned,
cradling the dog, mighty
in her cradling, royal blue
at midnight—maybe Mary?
Or is she Pilate’s wife?
The bleary-eyed Elder wonders.

The stone softens,
seems to melt,
beats like a heart,
permutes, goes mute,
erupts again with vision:

a Trinity vies with itself,
zealot, wolf heir, lady.
Are they fighting? Dancing?
The fledgling seer becomes a man
who fears breeze sneaking through
the crack between door and floor—
the air from his neighbors’ lungs.

The better part of the Himalaya
cleave away
from themselves and fall back
down into the great ocean—
jagged mountains become
rounded pebbles.


That was the moment the Elder heard a voice retelling the greatest story ever told, and getting to the part where Jesus announces one will betray him. In that moment, the Galilean man looked out of the stone and into the Elder. He shivered and hoped the Galilean looked through him toward another. For he had always hoped to become his Lord’s rock.

Poet’s Notes

This is a second piece which began as a product of Lenten meditations hosted by the Community of Christ during 2023. The first is If Jesus Took Satan’s Offer. For information on Lent, visit our friends at Wikipedia. The featured image, with a face embedded in stone, was a Photoshop creation for my poem Elegy for a Mormon Jor-El. Reactions are welcome in the comment section below. Thank you for reading.