"Silence Not The Cross"

by Frances Brown



 What becomes of the seen but not heard
who wander the unfluted ground
of fields too small to demand cross-hatching,
caught in the fray of doting warriors?
Do they watch in parched white silence
non-converging patterns and distant sounds
of a world up above their heads?
Do they strain on tip-toe to see
directives on a gilt-edged scroll,
and wait for the beat of a drum
so hearing ears and seeing eyes
can come to silent play?

Where is the hearth
for things that never get said;
For the bridled tongue that holds
pain and rage in the roof of the mouth;
For words lodged in the small throat
when life demands a swallowing?
Do they wax like daisies
on a weedy tract, shouldering
tall grasses that block morning dew
from their upturned faces?
Yet command random breezes to tilt
and sway the yellow blades,
and bear what the source admits:
a drop of rain
a slit of sun?

Do they stand like the Little Boy Jesus--
hungry-eyed and mute before the cross
thin in the shadow of the world's Light
lost between the Word and the body politic?
Do they wobble through their ordeal
of days
Conditioned in The Promise?

Is it silence and not the cross
that breaks the burden-bearer
The bloated belly of the starved spirit-child
that times the soundless step
on the wilderness path
and returns in the ninth hour--
not with a whisper
to be quelled by gently descending doves
but with a loud cry, erupting with crows' hunger
to shrug that yoke of peace?



"Silence Not the Cross" © 1996 by Frances Brown

Original Graphics © 1996 by Jim Davis-Rosenthal



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