Saturday, March 31, 2012

altar cloth touching the floor

Harvey S. Mozolak

Palm Sunday’s joyful glories
tumble into the Prayer of the Day
and its dimming reminder
that the Gospel will be filled
with cries of crucify
as the cut branches dry
and die in people's palms
his empty awaiting the nails
that notch love to hang on a rack
like an unneeded seamless tunic
for the nakedness of God

orchids at the conservatory

Harvey S. Mozolak

orchids are all face
pursed lips and pouting cheeks
eyelashes curled and ears dripping
with bright held by thread-held beads
and gems of contrasting color
they have a small green neck
and something of arms
and below often ugly twiggy rooted legs
but the flowers’ leaves
something more to be desired
need a tree’s trunk or unnatural wood props
crutches supplied by a connoisseur
of the blatant odd and esoteric
miles from jungles and rain forest
their laughter must be conserved
under faux-fogged glass
for a eyes aided and memories served
by the focus of a digital device

garden row markers

Harvey S. Mozolak

mark my word
on the mound
with a wound in the earth
dug deep to suspend heaven
gouged to plant a tree
for transplanting soil
in harrowing spikes
and spading spear
through five wounds
in the flesh of God
where scars of plucking
will sprout faith’s fruit
clinging near the staking

Friday, March 30, 2012


Harvey S. Mozolak

not a heavy cloth
but a simple tissue
small crisp crust
like rust to the rain
winter’s first and last
white bright rim
edging vivacity with duplicity
it does not stay
like snow to be hated
tracked down
and shoveled aside
it leaves only
a limp line of grief
to warm
as tears to run away
and say “it was not I”
to the waking
eye of the sun
staring quiet courage
in the march to April

beginning holy week’s endings

Harvey S. Mozolak

a whole week
worth of completion
set like
in ugliness some spot
walked around avoided
because going through
tracks sputum and sweat
blood and torn flesh
in the worn way we go
to say nothing of other base things
at the post where a pack of ferial dogs
stop to relieve themselves
on the beauty like a tree
set apart to see
stark bare of bark cold
then budded by red
blossoming in white
fruited in gold tasting sweetness
plucked by bidden hands
to hear and heart
plate cup and feast in the strong long
week of holiness

Thursday, March 29, 2012

improved vision

Harvey S. Mozolak

poets see so much more today
not only the beach
that a certain wealthy patron
has allowed them to walk
in the winter season
to sense beyond the sea
a fathomless land unknown
and make a lined account
between tides of the countless sand
or walk a woods closer to home
in spring to apply a bud
to the need for hope to flower
from within a frozen heart
but now with the freedom of film
and a world widely seen in video
televised rebellions
and geographic exploration
to fierce cold or molten places
remote peoples and their patterns
sometimes live and interactive
yet who proves such visions
to be what they are unseen
within sieved by thought
an art ocean-wide
plied where there are no ships
and nested deep in dense trees
where only birds commune in song

Monday, March 26, 2012

after hirelings fled

Harvey S. Mozolak

the wolf howls
then the sheep hear the voice
and they know
the lamb who will triumph
though lost of heaven
caught in the thatch
a corpse in the lone copse
on the side of the fierce mount
is not frozen amid the flocks’ fear
but stands unmoving
at its unguarded flanks
where flattened lupine ears circle near
and the devouring decayed teeth
of death yellow
in the dying light of day

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Harvey S. Mozolak

an elevated host
the corpus lifted and held fast
above the scarlet pool of blood
wine red
is an orb like the morning sun
raised above the horizon
of all that once could be seen
leveled by the grave
and now that beyond
becomes reachable
as we rise from our knees
to stand with the opened mouths
of unsealed sepulchers
to praise him who fills us
with joy and peace
among the unneeded linens
and towels of time

Jacobean de profundis

Harvey S. Mozolak

from the profound depths
where faith had flickered and failed
and hope was emptied not found
where love no longer can embrace
he came rising
with flesh fresh from death
untouched by rot and worm
with hands that shook
their pierced fists at hell
and feet that trampled doom’s despair
and offer now shalom
and a walk without a limp
after pinning God

Thursday, March 22, 2012

warm sin for breakfast

Harvey S. Mozolak

to eat a hot-crossed pastry
properly in a due Lenten half-fast fashion
it must be torn or cut in two
removing the top from the bottom
and the lower section
with its nuts and wrinkled raisins
eaten first a kind of penance-driven
displaced delight and awaited more
and then the sweet mound
white crossed sugar-bled bun
almost in one bite liking sticky fingers last
after touching the coffee cup
leaving an un-confessed number
of tacky tracks of guilt  

Monday, March 19, 2012

first altar guild

Harvey S. Mozolak

stained tablecloth
down to the very wood
the wine
the women gather
the ends and the spills and splatters
crumbs of broken bread
and lamb cold on the bone
a bowl of salted tears
while the disciples
go off to sleep
betray and deny
hide and cry
the linens must be laundered
for the next sacred sustenance
of life after Sabbath Passover

consummatum est

Harvey S. Mozolak

consumed by our appetite
for death
his clothing was gone
wretchedness all that was left him
when the curtain ripped
allowing any and all to see
holiness exposed
to our handling
and the filth of our stare
at his deepest descent
into our midst
where we end
as we began
in the dirt
where he breaths
no more

Sunday, March 18, 2012

east leaning west at the edge

Harvey S. Mozolak

the coming of it is not like
the warmth
or the green stab from the soil
that says with a thick tubular thrust
the winter stuffed north
by a battering series of storms
shutters then un-nailed

it is placed tenderly
like emptied eggs dyed with colors
set to blaze amid the black
among the stones
of silence and the unmoving ages
for many but not all
the Sunday after the Paschal full moon
following the northern hemisphere’s vernal equinox
a day between March 22 and April 25th
eternity our end
and out began

Friday, March 16, 2012

the third thief and the mother hen

H.S. Mozolak

the small boy with a smirk
showed his sister his find
she frowned
where did you get them?
you weren’t up on the hill were you?
he pushed his disheveled hair to the side
they clanked as he placed them
in the empty basket
perched by the rickety fence
in the yard beside their mud house
his hands dirty from their filth
rust and the redness
that wasn’t dried corrosion
you shouldn’t be touching things like that!
I’m telling mother where you were
he in threat and fear
no please don’t I’ll throw them awaythey left them there
she forgetting because her cousin
came to stay and play till sunset
and he occupied with a load of work
his father found for him
that was the eve of the Sabbath
and this morning was the first day of the week
the girl arose as she always did
hungry with so little to eat in the house
and as her mother left the door
carrying a bundle of sweet-smelling scents
the last spices of her garden
to sell as was her custom
to those on the path to the grave-ground
she spotted near the empty garden
the basket where her brother had left his “treasure”
look what Silas went and gotlifting the basket to complete her condemnation
she paused
inside she saw nested
atop the four heavy iron nail pegs
several small fragile eggs
food to break fast
today you do not have to sell
to those who bury

held hope

H.S. Mozolak

dedicated in thanks to St. Stephen’s  Faith Family

I had hoped things would work out
you know we had a whole crowd on our side
the donkey almost floated in the parade
surrounded with Palm fronds
and cries of joy the first of last week
it was as if God was creating
a whole new day
hosanna… blessed is he
in whose coming we hope

our hope faded then for several days
like a drying dying tree
we passed one each day
coming and going
on the road to Jerusalem and Temple
without even a single sweet fig fruit
its branches brittle unblessed
by even his passing

our hopes were high
as they always are every Passover
next year people pray
Messiah come
and at table on the night we remembered
the eve of the Egyptian Exodus
the Lord was among us quietly passing
more than manna
mercy’s antidote
for the heart-hardening venom of fiery serpents
bread that lasts he said was his body
in a bloodshed poured out to save us

our hope held strangely
as he filled a basin and washed our feet
so much like a slave
he whom we called master and teacher
among our filthy feet
stinking toes and sweat warped sandals
his hands as gentle as his soul
his eyes seeing within each of us

our hopes swirled like dirty dish water
when there was talk
of betrayal and denial and missing money
all among friends
he and the twelve of us and the women
who ministered to him and to those in need
until the Iscariot left the room
in such great hurry that his robe ripped
screaming on a nail near the door

we carried hopes in the psalms we sang
in the darkening streets through the eastern gate
and across the Kidron creek to a favorite garden
an ancient olive grove where it was said
the roots were the grandchildren of David’s planting
there he prayed like he always did
to the Father with such fervor and confidence
that it always quieted us and calmed our nerves
so we fell asleep

hope shattered into a thousand sharp shards
in lantern lights and torch flarings
amid blaring barks and commands
as temple guards and an angry crowd
forced their way into our midst
shoving grabbing Jesus and beginning to bind him
with cords and pushing us aside

hopelessly Peter drew a blade
a long fish-fileting knife and slashed
at the servant of the high priest among them
severing amid screams his ear
then Christ touched and healed him
a soundless moment amid the loud mayhem
restraining Simon and commanding
that the mob of men let us go

we ran dropping our hopes like lost outer robes
slipped cinctures and several staves
the beloved ending up naked
his only hope to flee for freedom
leaving our hope to stand alone
abandoned without
within the silent trees
between the frightful shadows

hope was but a frayed unraveling thread
as Peter who hurriedly volunteered 
followed the clot of rage
to the courtyard of the priests
what hope could be found
among the lies of witnesses
the judgment before Pilate
condemned by the jeering jury of a hundred haters
at Herod’s court and then before the spit
mockery whips slashes and gashes of police
and soldiery of Rome and Israel

any hope that we had held out for acquittal
a fine perhaps a bribe
or some added corporal punishment
even time locked like the Baptist in a jail
drained away as the throng kept
yelling in fury for the wrong

how can one hope when the heavy beam
of the hanging wood is lashed
to a beaten back bleeding
crowned with spikes of a weed
wildly sharped and used for pain

hope cannot survive being grounded
staked into the earth
hope must have liberty to breath
flow and see beyond
but here on the hill things are nailed down
with the wrath of four searing irons
death is a foregone conclusion
only suffering is figured
in the intensity of the disfigurement

hope has now become garbage on a heap
thrown away all chances
all opportunities for more
planning over goals gone
but for the trudge to the grave

in thirst
yet one of his words
to the helpless hopeless thief
flings a slap into the face of bleak defeat
another to his very enemies
hands with hammers and spear
he offers unshielded forgiveness
care to his mother and brother
and to his God and Father the hidden shout
the Word of hope
that all is done but not despair
and he is in his Father’s hands

when the Christ like a flag
no longer furling on its pole
slumped wilted on the wooden stem
we reached and lowered him with a ladder
others thought to bring
because there was no faith
now I think of what we held
limp sagging drooping
dropping into our arms and hands
the divine hope
that can be held

and oh…
so dead
he did hold us
like we had never been held before
for he was hope
that can be held

even in the last drops
of an saved alabaster jar of tomb spice
carried fragrant to a morning grave
in mourning
and dropped there
like an anchor
whose rope of hope
is held fast now to another shore
beyond the dawn

holy Saturday thoughts

H.S. Mozolak

somewhat like the rich
use shallow dry cisterns
or a carved niche in the wall of the city
even a small cool cave in the side of a hill
to cover a basket of pears
a lump of newly squeezed cheese
a freshly salted leg of lamb
we placed him like an uneaten meal
some stored supply on a stone shelf
in the borrowed burial burrow
of Joseph the Arimathean
for the women who would later come
to the ledge and wrap the body
tenderly pried from the wood
for what we did not know
the legendary of an Egyptian journey
our forefathers for Abraham’s feast
or as he said the three days
rebuilding of the Temple
it is the Sabbath rest
yet we know no manna can be kept
but for the day without the sacred spoilage
we have no hunger
our bellies are limp grave bags
tears are our only drink
and yet even David of the Tabernacle
entered God’s very house
and ate the presence bread
oh for the wisdom of Solomon
and the answered word of the prophets

sacred shapes refigured

H.S. Mozolak

useless fangs
drained empty of poison
were they left there empty
planted inert in the skin of the earth
above the choking knoll
where the air was taken out of heaven?
like three pegged plus signs
of sin’s addition to perfection
giving death its great subtraction
leafless lifeless marks of the fall
bringing on its breathless cold
where hung the thief
who still runs from Eden
and the other malefactor who remembers
to factor the promise of Paradise
before the one who spoke let there be
between engrafted
is the Christ who held court
beneath the gavels of his executioners
he robbed of all
but us

Monday, March 12, 2012

warmer than usual

Harvey S. Mozolak

snow shovels given away
worn boots in the trash
winter wools given to a clothing bank
moving south
where the sun is wide-eyed
the air softer in warmth
the trees early pink white
red buds and myrtles common
as crepe at a party
but spring has come early
after a winter warmer than usual
as if to say
we can do better
please stay
see the north season
can play
nice but we are not listening
instead memorizing a new house address

along the trip

Harvey S. Mozolak

it appears
between the mountains
the road a parting
comb for a receding pine line
where the deep young forest
ages up the winter-whitening sides
fingers unthinking run
through thinning temples of matted hair
tired after miles of driving
among the ridges