Reading the gospel of Mark in Lent

Ash Wednesday, February 14, 2018
I’ve loved listening to performers who memorize Mark, living all the roles in one evening. I’ve heard three — Alec McCowan, Paula Thigpen and Bert Marshall — each time in Lent. So this Lent I will take my own one-poet journey through this shortest, this oldest, this wild, abrupt, least acceptable gospel.

Reading the gospel of Mark in Lent Mark 1:1

Mark is sketchy
with all the jazz of spring,
transient as
ash or pink paper hearts —
no birth, no time taken to explain
the background to Greeks
or proof-text anything for Jews.

Mark rakes up apocalyptic bewares,
skips beatitudes,
and the prayer of record,
forgets to explain parables,
slaps the transfiguration
dead center,
shows us how stupid and naked
a disciple can be.

It’s just gospel — rising up
like maple sap in the trees,
blowing past
like a wind full of kites,pressing through,
spearing earth like crocus or cold rain,

written in haste,
making us run for our lives.

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