Thursday, January 6, 2011

I see His blood upon the rose

I discovered this poem by Joseph Mary Plunkett in the Christian Prayer book, which I just recently acquired to be able to say the Liturgy of the Hours. I was quite surprised and inspired when I found it in the back appendix on page 2060.

The words immediately suggested a melody to me, and I began working on composing a song. I found that I did not have to change the words at all, except for a very minor one. Where the original says, "and carven by His power, Rocks are His written words." I wrote instead, "and carved by His power, The rocks are His written words."

I see His blood upon the rose
© 2011 PublicVigil
Lyrics by Joseph Mary Plunkett
Music by PublicVigil

I see His blood upon the rose
And in the stars the glory of His eyes,
His body gleams amid eternal snows,
His tears fall from the skies.

I see His face in every flower;
The thunder and the singing of the birds
Are but His voice—and carved by His power
The rocks are His written words.

All pathways by His feet are worn,
His strong heart stirs the ever-beating sea,
His crown of thorns is twined with every thorn,
His cross is every tree.

I see His blood upon the rose
And in the stars the glory of His eyes

After I had finished with the music, I went online to learn about Joseph Mary Plunket, the poet.

Joseph Mary Plunkett
Born in Dublin in 1887, Joseph Plunkett wrote many poems of rare mystical force. He must have been something of a mystic, attracted as he was to St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Avila and St. Francis de Sales. Plunkett was one of the signers of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic and was imprisoned by the English army. He was executed in 1916 for his part in the 1916 Rising. Shortly before his execution on the morning of May 4, he married his fiancée, Grace Gifford, in the jail’s chapel. Plunkett was 28 years old.

Because of his great love for the Incarnate Word and the Word’s close connection to all created things, Plunkett seemed to see Christ’s destiny and great love as forever entwined with this earth and this universe. There are images of earthly romance in this poem: the rose, the stars, the tears, the flowers reflecting the face of Christ, the singing birds. One also senses, I believe, the throbbing heart of the Bridegroom in “the ever-beating sea.”

1 comment:

  1. Today, in a historic event, the Queen of England laid a wreath at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin, which is dedicated to the memory of those who lost their lives in the 1916 Rising. Among those was Joseph Plunkett.

    The Garden of Remembrance was dedicated in 1966 to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1916 Rising against British rule. This Irish independence uprising is also known as the Easter Rising, so it is appropriate that the Queen has made her visit here during the season that the Catholic Church celebrates Easter. This year marks the 95th anniversary.

    In this video of the wreath laying ceremony, the Queen can be clearly seen bowing before the memorial to Joseph Mary Plunkett and his compatriots who sacrificed their lives in the cause of independence for Ireland.