Volto Santo of Manoppello

Volto Santo of Manoppello

The cross-hatched byssus veil through which you look
Is draped before your eyes so none may see
Until the one who lifts the veil will show
How he has overcome the veil we know.



In these tens of minutes remaining
of the Friday Sun’s diminishing
beneath the horizon,

the tree is lowered towards the shadow
that, until now, was stetching longer and further
over the hillside as the Sun reddened unto evening.

The tree, eclipsing even its own shadow,
from behind the flint-set face whose final frozen stare
was fixed toward the grave–hanging from the tree,

now holds aloft his gaze heavenward.

His most loving mother,
through the night and day of her pierced heart’s tears–
pouring forth the maternal grace of all she kept in it,

immaculate voice become low
like the trembling
of a cello’s tenor,

keeping her gaze turned on her son
whose lacerations and blood are, in his hour,
now surfaced for all else to see,

commands the Arimathean, Joseph,
“Remove the nails slowly
so as not to damage the corpse.”

Felix Culpa

As the fall of man
exults the Tree of Life
to a higher
and more unreachable
so it is
that He Who IS
on that Tree
forgives much
to be loved
so much more.