March 31, 2012

Mount Anathemata: The Savage Trophy

The following is a poem by a Carthusian monk who helps us glimpse the mystery of Holy Week -

Hung on the battlements of heaven,
Hideous to exterior darkness,
These ultimate things devoted,
Objects of dread, deep wonder and exultation;
All citizens who sign their lips with freedom,
Dazed, eternally burn with veneration;
Corpse and Cross, plunged in desolation,
Love cut and murdered plumed humiliation,
Sin's cruel triumph, power and violation
Ceaseless upon the battlements creation
Awed breaks out in myriad voices,
     Fired by jubilation:

"Power to Love all conquering! Heaven
Bow in joy exceeding! Darkness,
Cower! O Christ exalted,
Behold our gratitude, our exultation!
Stunned by Love's extent of pain (in freedom
Died for freedom, forgave sin's foul corruption),
We wake from death in tears of warm compunction.
O Savage Trophy, Rood of desecration,
Streaming suffering your phial of consecration!
O King and Prophet, Priest of all creation!
O Corpse and Cross, intense our voices
     Sing of our Salvation!"

"O Bonitas!" Hushed to Silence: a selection of poems by a Carthusian Monk, chosen by Robin Bruce Lockhart, Herefordshire: Gracewing (2001) 62.