Good Friday

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The centre of a palm

Unconfirmed speech delay

Hearing not as I remember

Not as I wish to forget

That silent wake up

Watching up a tree

 

Inwards the protesting eye

Comfort in discomfort’s shadow

Stones removed our turn

To close one palm

Opening the other like

A star I remember

 

Look into the black

The holes the thorny

Aches of the day

He opens and in breaking

He is here

Where are you?


‘Drop, Drop Slow Tears’ by Orlando Gibbons arranged and performed by me


 

This poem has special significance to me. Last year on Good Friday I began learning the Prelude from Bach’s Suite No.2 in D minor for Solo Cello. I’d barely played a few bars when I felt moved to write this poem. I don’t often feel compelled to write poetry in response to music anymore. At the moment I feel as if words and music are totally separate, but this occasion was a rare inspiration to marry music, words and faith. I don’t feel like I wrote this poem because I almost feel that Bach wrote it through me. I’m not claiming that I know much about his personal theology, but his music spoke honestly and spiritually to me in that moment and so I want to share it.

The Cello Suites themselves are so whole, showing a full spectrum of life, death, jubilation and suffering. No matter what spiritual dimension you are fuelled by, this life and death of Jesus expresses the bleakness that we encounter so often in ourselves. The D minor Prelude is, for me, one of the bleakest moments in all the suite’s movements. You reach the end and it can feel unbelievable that you have to go on. This is a bleakness and emptiness that Good Friday brings us face to face with.

 

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