Posted by: Peadar Ban | October 27, 2019

Beginning of the Beginning: The Way


 I have been there, Gethsemane. Yes, there

Not far from Jerusalem’s ancient walls

Still barrier, bulwark thick and tall, watching

Sun’s slow slide behind those walls’ massive bulk

While I wandered the old ways laid among

The ancient Olives, mute witnesses, gray

Leafed sentinels of salvation’s long night.


Inside the nearby church I kissed the stone

Which received the offer of bloody sweat

And tears, heard soft acceptance at the end.

He was ready when they came for Him

Who knew they would before the world was formed

And looked into each one’s eyes lovingly

As they dragged him to torture, trial and Death.

The silent trees in the still cool night

Mute witnesses to His brutal passion’s

Black, cold, dawn where pure love is a stranger.


Yards must have been miles to Jerusalem’s

Ancient Lion’s Gate beaten up the rough

Rock strewn road, shoved and dragged along in turn

Pain a flood with each stumbling step taken

With those whose only work was fear and hate.

Pummeled into agony, alone in pain

All the while the gray green leaves left to hang,

To weep with his few friends, all still as trees.


The way from Gethsemane winds uphill

To the Lion’s Gate.  A way not too hard

For the fit.  Not so for Him that dark dawn

Beneath the sun’s blistering red rising.

Evil seems in times like this most eager

To reproduce and spread like a mad plague

Like a message gone out across the land

Growing more powerful where good has flown

Beyond all hope of being seen again.


My own pain up that long incline on legs

Old and lame brought tears as I thought of Who

Both felt and saw pain now and pain to come,

Knew what waited yet walked bloody into it

Toward His purpose from the world’s beginning

The death of Death and victory of Life.


What were His thoughts on the way to the cross

I wondered walking my dolorosa

To keep pain away that bright afternoon.

Turning into the Holy Sepulcher,

We waited in line to pay Him homage

While the Greeks’ tiny bells rang closer as

I worried it would not happen at all.


At last, almost in their sight, the young priest

Beckoned us hurriedly to the Tomb

“You are the last today,” his whispered words

To us, and urged us swiftly, softly down

Three steps I remember. The tiny space,

The slab.  Here lay Almighty God at rest

I thought awed, and we both knelt and worshipped.

I kissed the stone where God lay down His head

And my wife did kiss the stone herself.


Dolorosa, sorrow in another tongue, is

The way.  The way past darkness into light.

Eternity, endless, immediate

Knows what I did not, but learned on that Way.

Sorrow may be what we see, but sorrow

Flees.  Only joy, truth, light eternal stays.

Light eternal stays.


Peter Gallaher

October 17, 2019





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