I have been working on a cycle of poems on the mysteries of the Holy Rosary. Here is the poem for Pentecost.



He was an unpredictable prophet,

but prophets are like that—first thundering

then all tender and kind. They kept wondering

about the contradictions: a king yet

a criminal, a wise man but a fool.

They watched him die, then gingerly reached out

to touch his radiant wounds. There was no doubt.

Then he was gone, and they remained watchful

waiting here in the silent heat. No one broke

the expectant mood. A child sang. All were mute

nurturing every memory and thought.

Then a sweet burning smell—a wisp of smoke

like incense curled through the room. A bright gust surged.

A window crashed open in the wind.

They clung together as fear swept their mind.

A sudden ecstasy burned and purged,

infusing the summer afternoon

with the potent enthusiasm of fire—

like the first small flame on a funeral pyre

or a lamp lit in a vast and darkened room