I felt compelled today to edit and republish a poem I first put out three years ago on my personal blog jamandgiraffes, in honour of International Poetry Day and because Easter is coming. Spring is now here and while flowers smell of hope and joy, Easter tells a more humbling story and I had been looking back at the gospels and wondering what it all smelt like. Feel free to use this, although if you do, please do credit me.
It all started when the jar of nard parted
Jarred, barred, open-hearted, broken-hearted,
What a strange smell, filling the house from roof to foot,
Smell of treasure, smell of death (tarted up).
Then branches waving in the king, palms up, palms down
Crunching under simple hooves, hay, swaying fresh and fuzzy.
Smelly feet, incomplete, bread and the vineyard and olives and torches –
Feast or final meal, more blood, more fire and the plaintive crow crow crowing.
Unknowing. Smell of fear, of sweat, of thorns and wood,
Smell of your trade, made rough, tough nails rusty, musty dust.
Smell of pain, again, again, again, sweat, blood, vinegar and hyssop.
Hyssop? Cleanse me too – blood rolling like tears, metallic, organic to the ground.
Bound, in myrrh, in aloe, from head to toe, so so dead. No!
And then you said ‘why are you crying?’
And my world of tears and mud and blood split open and I breathed a different air. It smelt of life.
And it smelt good.