This poem, written in 2006 by Fr. Tim Fitzgerald C. P., a Passionist Priest and friend of mine, is such a moving piece of writing. Here he looks at that terrible day when Peter denied Christ 3 times, just like Christ said he would. This piece speaks volumes about Peter’s emotions the day after he denied Christ – – – imagine yourself in Peter’s position. . .
It was to be:
Phantoms of yesterday.
I must be dreaming,
I must awake or my heart will crack.
It is no dream.
I see others in the dark.
It really happened.
It is no dream.
Oh! If only I could have that moment back!
She was just a serving girl ~ sassy and quick.
What could she know?
Fear I never felt on the lake
strangled my tongue
Ate up my braggart way
Like sunlight eats up darkness.
Did those awful words come out of my mouth?
Did I, who never curse, curse?
I don’t know that Man,
I don’t know myself!
It’s coming back to me now. . .
I tried to shame away.
I wanted to disappear.
Then. . .
He crossed the courtyard
Not breathing, I thought;
He doesn’t know
How could He know so soon?
That face I had memorialized like the sea,
I grabbed more desperately at the shadows.
Those eyes I had studied so well
Sought me out
Penetrated my darkness
Caught my eyes
As a net snares a struggling fish.
I could not turn away.
I could not look down or beyond that gaze
I was crushed with self-loathing.
I sank beneath the blanket of cold,
Tangled in disgust beyond anything I had ever felt.
Yesterday I had my moment and I failed –
Faltered, fell headlong, denied myself/Himself.
This night you will deny me three times.
Yet I failed Him when He needed me the most.
Even for an hour, He had said.
But those eyes do not reproach me.
They must reproach me like a cock’s crow.
Oh that look, those dark and large eyes
Shining in the fire’s light,
Tell me only one thing:
I love you!
And I wept because His eyes said it all.
I still love you.
And still I weep, because I love Him,
Holy Saturday: 4/15/06
Fr. Tim Fitzgerald, C.P.
Sandy Ozanich (c) April 13, 2014