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That old Easter story

  • 01 April 2019


Selected poems



On the first Palm Sunday

What a poor showing.

This collection of the

desperate clinging

to a dream so old

it is just a tattered

mumble for old men

in the fading light.

All myth and spittle.


While the world is

turning serious and

sharp on the highways

that tame the earth,

we have this; broken

branches, old prayer

shawls and clouds

of shuffling dust.


And what did they

crowd in to see?

A pointless, painful

parody? Another

insignificant insect

for the long, slow,

fine grinding of

the great heel?


Or, was there

some thing that

made them, for

just a moment,

in their vast longing

for the great day,

when the cold wind

will be done and


the warm sun will

be everywhere,

toss their unneeded

cloaks to the earth?




A three day shift

At the final end of it all on that Friday

it was done as it always is; easily.

Another name scratched from the list.

Just one more soul done down.


And the next day, it's the dirt, the

stink and the cleaning shift. Buckled

bodies dragged clear to make space

for the next quota of ordinary horror.


And the next day, it's dull hollows

hammered into the rock face, holes

for the broken shoveled and scraped

in and already forgotten.


And the next day, just empty sky

and the watching shift. Huddled

in the wind then the black-night

silence, hungry for the sun's


slow return, waiting for the earth

to do its secret work, to push up

life through the dirt and to come

again alive and green in the world.




At the dawning of the day

That old Easter story of killing

and the other thing is a heavy

tale to know now that we feel

so sure of the secrets of blood

and the age of stones and the

hidden ways of everything.


But story is what we have to

tell ourselves about the light

and shadow and the shape

of the void. And this story

all of jagged endings suits

us down to the hard ground.


And it is a good story we

know because a good story

does not leave us in the blank

cave but always shows us the

crimson thread, the breath of

a small wind that every reader


knows is enough to signal a

turn to home. And no matter

that three days dark can seem

an eternity and no matter that

we have done our level best

to seal ourselves into the earth,


the blue grey rock always

cracks and all in a moment we

can find ourselves again

blinking in the full light of day.



Paul Turley recently completed a Masters Degree in poetry through the University of Adelaide focusing on plain or accessible language poems. He has worked for much of his life in community development in not for profit and church agencies. His poems have most recently appeared in In