The Cross of the Donkey

I’ve always been laughed at:donkey cross
Silly ass,just a donkey,
two a penny,
a beast of burden.

So when I hit the heights that Sunday,
palm branches beneath my hooves,
easing the pain of the Jerusalem hills,
carrying the Carpenter of Nazareth
on my back like a king,
I thought:

Never,
never again,
will they break sticks across my back,
or leave me starving in fields,
untrimmed feet grown ridiculous,
obscene and crippling.
Oh, no, the world will know
a donkey, a donkey,
carried the Prince of Peace into Jerusalem.
The laugh’s on them now.

That’s what I thought.
I should have known better.
With hindsight they blame me.
I should have known
I was carrying him to his death,
that’s what they say.
Of all creatures I should know
how fickle humans are.
Why didn’t I bolt?
Why didn’t I stop dead in my tracks?
Dig my hooves in?

So I have stood
broken, despairing,
all through this unending night,
remembering his gentle hands on the reins,
his thoughts finding a place in my heart.
We have a battle of love to win, little donkey,
he said.And just when I thought my darkness would never end,
at dawn,
a little bird with a blooded breast
flew over.

Hold your head up, noble creature,
she cried,
your back is marked with the sign of his cross!

Donkeys all over the world
are beaten, starved, tortured,
worked till we drop.
But sometimes,
sometimes,
a man or woman is humble enough
to trace with reverent hands across our backs,
the imprint of his cross,
and kneel,
kneel before a donkey.

by Sylvia Sands

Groaning of Creation

in Darkness Yielding

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2 thoughts on “The Cross of the Donkey

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