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Good Friday poem
Posted by: Pam Adams (
Date: March 25, 2005 06:41PM

I came across this one after a homework message sent me to the RPO site.

E. Pauline Johnson (1861-1913)

Brier: Good Friday

1Because, dear Christ, your tender, wounded arm
2 Bends back the brier that edges life's long way,
3That no hurt comes to heart, to soul no harm,
4 I do not feel the thorns so much to-day.

5Because I never knew your care to tire,
6 Your hand to weary guiding me aright,
7Because you walk before and crush the brier,
8 It does not pierce my feet so much to-night.

9Because so often you have hearkened to
10 My selfish prayers, I ask but one thing now,
11That these harsh hands of mine add not unto
12 The crown of thorns upon your bleeding brow.


Re: Good Friday poem
Posted by: marian2 (
Date: March 28, 2005 04:03PM

Thanks for posting that, Pam, it's new to me and I like it. Do you know what 'Brier' in the title is about - is that where it was written, for instance?

Here's one for Easter Day:

Seven Stanzas for Easter by John Updike

Make no mistake: if He rose at all
it was as His body;
if the cells' dissolution did not reverse, the molecules reknit,
the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers,
each soft Spring recurrent;
it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled
eyes of the eleven apostles;
it was as His Flesh: ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes,
the same valved heart
that - pierced - died, withered, paused, and then
regathered out of enduring Might
new strength to enclose.

Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not papier-mache,
not a stone in a story,
but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow
grinding of time will eclipse for each of us
the wide light of day.

And if we will have an angel at the tomb,
make it a real angel,
weighty with Max Planck's quanta, vivid with hair,
opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen
spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are
embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.

Re: Good Friday poem
Posted by: StephenFryer (
Date: March 29, 2005 12:04PM

Useful site here, though it doesn't answer the 'brier' question.
[] />

Post Edited (03-29-05 10:04)


Re: Good Friday poem
Posted by: Linda (
Date: March 29, 2005 12:45PM

Is it being used as a varient of "briar" and refering to the crown of thorns?

Re: Good Friday poem
Posted by: Desi (
Date: March 29, 2005 03:46PM

Re: Good Friday poem
Posted by: lg (
Date: March 29, 2005 04:45PM

Here's another:

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Re: Good Friday poem
Posted by: marian2 (
Date: March 30, 2005 04:34AM

Thanks, everyone - I had a mental block - because it was capitalized, I assumed Brier was a place - I missed that it was spelled the same in the first stanza and had read that as briar. It still seems an odd title, but I think it must just mean a poem called Brier written on Good Friday, rather than a poem called Good Friday, written at Brier, which was what I first thought.

Stephen's link is fascinating - I'd not heard of Johnson before and with a name and poem like that, discovering she was an Indian is a real shock, never mind the views on Christianity expressed in her work, after such a straightforwardly Christian poem. Maybe, like many of us, she was Christian but not a fan of the Christian churches.

Re: Good Friday poem
Posted by: Linda (
Date: March 30, 2005 12:14PM

Not having read Stephen's link before, I assumed that when you said Indian you meant inhabitant of India, not Canada. Don't we learn at lot here?

Re: Good Friday poem
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (
Date: March 30, 2005 03:44PM


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