Portrait of Courage

(Mary and the Mother of Judas)

Beneath the fateful sycamore where still

A frayed rope hung, they sat in quietude

Of grief and saw: three crosses on a hill;

Repentant Judas ... Darkling death there nude.

Heads bowed, eyes tearless, bleak, both mothers knew

That winds through palms would sing triumphant, free,

The Song of Life, while whispers slithering through

The grass would hiss, "Betrayer!" endlessly.

"How kind and mother-wise to seek me here!

Forgive him, Mary."--Grief's taut floodgates broke--

"His hands were grasping but his heart held dear

Your Son, his Lord. Would I might ease your yoke!"

In syllables love-tender, Mary said,

"Yours is the greater burden. Lift your head ..."