Mixing Our Tears with Jesus’ Blood: A Good Friday Poem

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Mary’s Loss: Death

When people think of paradox, they often think of contradiction and confusion. Good Friday is that kind of paradox. How can Jesus being tortured and murdered be good? On his way to the cross Jesus told the women caring for him, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves”

Jesus calls us to lament—not for him—but for the kind of world we must live in that would include violence we see regularly and the kind of world that would take the life of such a one as Jesus.

But the truth Jesus knew and we can know is that his horrible crucifixion will bring justice, healing, peace, and eternity into the world as no other person or event could. 

That’s good! To say the least.

So many stories about Mary the mother of Jesus portray her as angelically strong and a saint. But as a mother and widow how did she feel as she watched her son being crucified? My poem below attempts to dig into her feelings of despair.

For Holy Week this year I wrote a Trilogy of poems, The Woman Who Touched Him: Life, Mary’s Loss: Death, and Mary Magdalene: Resurrection to show how that thread ran through and touched and transformed three remarkable but also ordinary women.

I’ve posted each poem below in two forms: As Spoken Word Poetry and a written version. Listen or read or listen and read.

Please let me know how the scarlet thread of redemption has brought good to your life! 

Mary’s Loss: Death: Read by Deirdre Byerly

Mary’s Loss: Death

My fingers pressed his feet,

Tenderly nudged the nail

That pierced his flesh.

His feet once before

Had been bloody red.

The journey from my womb.

Joseph bathed him

With damp manger cloths.

That day my Son cried also

Hungry for my breast.

I drew him near;

Mingled my milk

With his tears.

These moments multiplied

I treasured with

Motherly pride.

My tears now mingled

With his blood.

Today I could offer no

Comfort to my child.

A mother’s wisdom

Falls far short

When your First born

Is crucified.

Memories cause only

Searing pain.

I could not lift

My aching head

To catch the last of

Life in his eye.

I bowed, brushing a mother’s

Locks on his flesh,

I wept instead.

My cheek lay against

His feet which had also

Skipped and played,

Swung and swam,

Led us to this place

Of dread.

I treasured every step

Every word he said.

But today, today

I could not bear

To hear

His cry

“Why, my God, have you

Forsaken me?”

Even in death he spoke

For me.

Once blessed among women.

Now afraid.

Forsaken.

I pull myself close.

A thread of

His shed blood

Warm, red

Wets my parched lips.

“It is finished,”

With his last breath he said.

Deirdre Byerly is a gifted writer, mother, thinker, friend, and woman.

This was first published on Good Friday in 2021.

4 thoughts on “Mixing Our Tears with Jesus’ Blood: A Good Friday Poem”

  1. Georgie Ann KETTIG

    I don’t think it’s possible to effectively (or productively) “intervene” in the “poetic imagery and message” of a poem,… it would be something like taking one’s own paintbrush and colors to add something to another person’s finished/completed work of art,… just basically an “impossibility”!,…

    but in relation to the discussion leading up to the poem, I’ll just share how I had a different “interpretation”, personally, of Jesus’s words: “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves”,… and I think that it has me pegged for being, predominantly, an “introvert”!,…

    very honestly, the ONLY message that I ever “interpreted” from that communication, was that we (ordinary humans) were ALL sinners, (except for Christ, the innocent one being made to suffer horribly),… and yes, His situation was very obviously painful and unjust, but that WE were the ones who actually could merit the punishments that HE was going through, on our behalf,… the “saving grace”, of the moment, was actually understanding the Christian “teaching” that somehow, a bona fide “miracle” was happening that was going to divert that same horror of punishment that could have been ours ~ merited because of our own “fallen” (selfish?, sinful) natures, which would be our own actual reasons to weep “for ourselves”,… I thought it was a concept designed to “reach through” our human denial and defensive “buffer zones”,… I don’t think anyone tried to “preach” that to me ~ that was just the “logic” that I interpreted myself,…

    but I find it VERY interesting that seeing this same “problem of sin”, as affecting “the whole world”/ “life on this planet”, as we will find it in the situations around us, is totally accurate too,… very undeniably so,…

    1. You are so kind. I think even with art and poetry one can see and hear a different message. This is often the gift of art and why some theologians avoid it. It can carry too many messages. But your point is well taken. Sin is both personal and universal. What I find beautiful about Jesus telling us to weep is that he considers our state very sad and even as he strains toward the cross his heart breaks for us.

      1. Georgie Ann KETTIG

        exactly,… a big “theme” that I’m hearing this year (in Catholic preaching) is the emphasis that “Love” is the underlying “Emotion” (and motive), in all (the “horror”) that is going on here,… and it can be so hard to “perceive”, and yet, it is True,… God’s Love (Big, Universal, Eternal, and “personal”, as well), intervening, on our behalf,…

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