scars – a poem

A poem referencing the Gospel lectionary passage for this coming Sunday. John 20:19-31.


Running blind ‘round a corner,
Robber to a cop in hot pursuit,
Forehead meets half-opened door;
Pain, dizziness, trickle of blood.

Childhood memory is borne in the body,
Fibrous tissues heralding past pain,
Scar as locus of life’s hurt and healing.

Boyhood hands whittle a branch,
Releasing bark, sharpening to a point.
“Always away from you,” momentarily forgotten,
Jackknife jumps, slices skin, hits bone. 

Carelessness traced today in curve of flesh,
Proteins reknit in simulacrum of skin,
Body absorbs and reveals grief.

Parent home with groceries in hand,
Child placed, one-armed, upon the floor.
Tip and tilt and tumble against a hinge,
Yelp of pain – open, wounded cheek.

Not only self-inflicted, our scars,
Mutuality in our blessing and bruising,
We bear each other’s lives in our bodies.

God among us as teacher, healer,
Hinged divine-human life among us,
Bearing our brutality in his body,
Taking scars into triune life.

Who could believe such a thing,
Let alone resurrection of a dead man?
Mutuality in the God-man’s repairing,
Fibrous tissues. Impossible possibility.

Enclosed within I am who I am,
Received within I will be who I will be,
Scars bespeak his vindication, our redemption.
Only one disciple yet to see, believe.

— R. De Vries

The image header here if of a piece by Marie-Claude Bouthillier, presently on display at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s