Mark Strand's "Poem After the Seven Last Words"

For Good Friday, I thought I would post a link to a moving poem by Mark Strand called "Poem After the Seven Last Words" from his most recent collection, Man and Camel.

I know Mark and he isn't a poet known for writing about religious themes but this piece is an interesting meditation on the seven last words of Christ based on the universal elements contained in the story of the crucifixion. It is written in such a way that it can be appreciated by both religious and secular readers alike.

Each section takes a phrase from the "seven last words" and the poet places them in an entirely new context while still embracing the spirit of the original phrases.

Here is number six of the seven:

‘It is finished,’ he said. You could hear him say it,
the words almost a whisper, then not even that,
but an echo so faint it seemed no longer to come
from him, but from elsewhere. This was his moment,
his final moment. “It is finished,” he said into a vastness
that led to an even greater vastness, and yet all of it
within him. He contained it all. That was the miracle,
to be both large and small in the same instant, to be
like us, but more so, then finally to give up the ghost,
which is what happened. And from the storm that swirled
a formal nakedness took shape, the truth of disguise
and the mask of belief were joined forever.

--Mark Strand, from "Poem After the Last Seven Words"

Read all seven sections online in Jacket Magazine here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"...the truth of disguise
and the mask of belief were joined forever".