Good Friday


30th March 2018



Sylvia Sands’ poem recalls Mark 15:33: ‘When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.’  Poetry helps me on this day of all days, when like Mary ‘groping wretchedly’ I sometimes struggle to find the words to pray.

‘The Nocturne of the Night’ by Sylvia Sands

Twelve o’clock in the afternoon,
and one of the stars in the universe
began screaming,
while down the hill of Golgotha
pounded a young lad,
scattering five loaves and two fishes
as he ran,
Turn out the sun,
turn out the sun!
Words – it so happened –
that found a place in a mother’s heart,
who, in her anguish,
had been groping wretchedly and in vain
for a prayer – any prayer – to cry.
Yes, turn out the sun, she echoed.

In answer to the screaming star,
in answer to the boy’s cry,
in answer to the distracted mother
I the Night,
already fearful and brooding,

Tenderly I came,
wrapping my cloak of darkness
round his twisted limbs,
as his mother once wrapped him
in swaddling clothes.

Slowly I came,
sending arms of darkness
round the shaking shoulders
of his disciples,
hiding in the fields.

Gently I came,
dropping a jet blanket
over the trembling form
of a beautiful woman in scarlet
prostrate in the dust of Calvary.

Relentlessly I came,
stopping the heartless rattle of dice,
dulling the brazen glint of swords,
and spears,
and armour.

At twelve o’clock,
earlier than ever before or since,
I, the Night, came to Calvary,
ushering in black shadows
in which humanity could hide its face like a child,
ushering in at twelve o’clock in the afternoon,
ushering in the dark night of the soul.


Thank you very much to everyone who has taken part in this Lent blog. It has been a memorable journey through the desert as we have shared, learned from, and been inspired by your thoughts, poems and experiences.

Sophia Acland







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