Lectionary Poetry – Palm Sunday – 6th Sunday in Lent (Year B)

With the dawn of a new church year, we have launched a new feature on our website, a weekly post of poetry that resonates with the lectionary readings for that week (Revised Common Lectionary).


*** Revised Common Lectionary ***

Lectionary Reading: Mark 11:1-11 



Henry Vaughan

Come, drop your branches, strow the way
Plants of the day!
Whom sufferings make most green and gay.

The King of grief, the man of sorrow
Weeping still, like the wet morrow,
Your shades and freshness comes to borrow.

Put on, put on your best array;
Let the joy’d rode make holy-day,
And flowers that into fields do stray,
Or secret groves, keep the high-way.

Trees, flowers & herbs; birds, beasts & stones,
That since man fell, expect with groans
To see the lamb, which all at once,
Lift up your heads and leave your moans!
For here comes he
Whose death will be
Mans life, and your full liberty.

Hark! how the children shril and high
Hosanna cry,
Their joys provoke the distant skie,
Where thrones and Seraphins reply,
And their own Angels shine and sing
In a bright ring:
Such yong, sweet mirth
Makes heaven and earth
Joyn in a joyful Symphony,

The harmless, yong and happy Ass,
Seen long before this came to pass,
Is in these joys an high partaker
Ordain’d, and made to bear his Maker.

Dear feast of Palms, of Flowers and Dew!
Whose fruitful dawn sheds hopes and lights;
Thy bright solemnities did shew,
The third glad day through two sad nights.

I’le get me up before the Sun,
I’le cut me boughs off many a tree,
And all alone full early run
To gather flowers to wellcome thee.

Then like the Palm , though wrong, I’le bear,
I will be still a childe, still meek
As the poor Ass, which the proud jear,
And onely my dear Jesus seek.

If I lose all, and must endure.
The proverb’d griefs of holy Job ,
I care not, so I may secure
But one green Branch and a white robe .

*** This poem is in the public domain, 
  and may be read in a live-streamed worship service.


The Poet Thinks
About the Donkey
Mary Oliver


On the outskirts of Jerusalem
the donkey waited.
Not especially brave, or filled with understanding,
he stood and waited.

How horses, turned out into the meadow,
   leap with delight!
How doves, released from their cages,
   clatter away, splashed with sunlight.



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C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com

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