“My friends, you are my closest ones.
You alone I can trust.
You are my closest companions,
James, here, you have some dust
Stuck to your shirt,
There, cleaned off the dirt.
My three friends,
Peter, James, and John,
Are closer to me than the rising sun.
I tell you this, so that you might have faith,
When all your hope falls under the weight
Of the coming sorrow.
I will die, come back, and leave.
Yes, I have a trick up my sleeve.
But after I’m gone, I warn you of danger,
I tell you now, to calm your anger.
James, you first will give up your life,
Bowing your head at a glorified knife.
Peter, you too will give me your all,
But your body will rise, not fall.
John, you will be tortured and burnt,
But you will die old, and tell all you learnt.
This I tell you, to prepare your heart,
So you remember this when I depart.”
I remember his words, and his sweet thoughts,
But would never expect this horror, this rot,
This evil to innocence. What did he do
To deserve such evil for speaking truth?
I see the nails, I hear the sound.
I can count his bones, his body sinks down.
I cannot bear to look at him, but I can’t stop.
I’ll watch his family drop
To the ground and pray,
Here at the cross I will stay.
Matthew B. Rose