Formation / Liturgy

Taw & Busk: Poetry For Holy Week

Editor’s Note: Drew Jackson, in his sublime new collection of poetry, God Speaks Through Wombs, declares the following: “I am a poet, but I also believe that poetry gives us a way to ‘tell all the truth but tell it slant,’ as Emily Dickinson says. I believe that we need poetry in our time, as in every time, for the beauty it brings in the midst of brutality and also for its ability to cut into our hearts” (Jackson, p. 4).

Indeed, I believe that we find ourselves “in the midst of brutality,” in this cultural moment and in the hours of Holy Week. Justin Heap’s poetry is filled with words and images that evoke deep emotion about life, death, and the resurrection to come: of Christ, within us, and for the good of everything in-between.

We pray that this piece is a vessel to draw your heart unto God in this week.

You will die. Let these be words
to prove hope in light of faith,
words to grow heavy on the chest
to prove light in hope of faith,
that resurrection always
follows death in this kingdom.
Take what you will, taw and busk,
for rich soil always welcomes poor
seeds looking to change, to live.


The seed breaking ground
requires much
from itself as well as the earth,
soil, sun, and cloud.
Patience in this fragile
life is neither virtue nor
choice, but vitality. May we
know the light in which we’re found,
receive much
and receive well.


Allow these ribs to create space,
swallow the wind as it carries
bright blood through otherwise
lifeless veins. Let these palms
find the sun as they look
to the sky. See how the maple
releases yellow throated song
birds and be moved unto
completion. Forgive and
swallow the wind as it carries
you to unfolded places.


May I look in the mirror and
confront the glass. Bend at the
waist to draw close, see
what is not there, stay
near enough to think
myself a god and
accept that he doesn’t wake up,
blink his eyes in search of refuge
from any number of colors of light,
throw his weary feet over the bed,
and think he’s me.
May I look in the mirror and
weep for having seen only


Peace to you. Peace with you.
You that sleep without resting
Wake without rising,
Peace to you. Peace with you.
You that have grown distant
From the sparrow,
Peace to you. Peace with you.
You that wait in some deep
Valley and know it not yet
As the beginning of a mountain.
May you be wholly and holy
Peaceful and makers thereof.


It is evening now, the wind and
the wine are given over to time
for our common good, so drink
To the glory of the vintner and
the celebrated one; and choose
to receive to believe who we
Are and who we are becoming.


Take what you will, taw and busk,
give and be given to the law of
love. Let not the truth you know
lie dormant lest you die too late,
not often enough, or with veins
empty, cold, not reaching distances
they were meant to go.
Be still. Feel life warming your skin,
raising your hopes. Wake up, begin.


Poetry from “By & By & Never (2017)” by Justin P. Heap