Reflection On Palm Sunday is one of Jocelyn's most powerful poems.

It was written. . . .

The setting, by Christopher Marshall is one of five songs in his cycle for SATB choir 'O Fragile Human'*.

The performance here is by the Washington DC choir The Woodley Ensemble directed by Frank Albinder. The mezzo-soprano soloist is Marjory Bunday.

Please press the red title to hear the recording, and then re-open this window to read the poem while listening.

*The composer with permission of the poet superimposed short Latin texts to add to the atmosphere of the piece.


Reflection On Palm Sunday

Oh Christ! I had not thought of this before.
You knew it all –
The victims dumb, too shocked to weep,
Stumbling beneath their ghastly load
As men and women screamed abuse
And even children taunted them.
And did you see a crucifixion scene;
Men staked on crosses –
Left to die a death more cruel
Than that of animals at ritual sacrifice,
While thirst and dust and searing eastern sun
Heaped agony on agony till death’s release?
Here we have crosses made of flax –
The upright and the transverse blade
Twisted together by dedicated hands.
Palm branches decorate the church,
As once you saw them waved before your path.
Did you see then their fronds, the spine and ribs;
Remember bodies taut upon the tree
And shudder as that shadow fell on you?
Oh God, you knew.
I had not thought of that before.

Copyright © Jocelyn Marshall, 2008