We Are the Eighth Day, © Melanie Weidner


Hidden lives

The opening scenes establish the unforced style of Nobody Knows, a heart-rending film by Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda about four Tokyo youngsters who are abandoned by their mother.


Listen! And hear the whispers of uprisings
all about you, springing not from the blood
of desperation, revolt from under the grinding heel
of emperies; grounded instead in eastering
earth and its hovering Spirit. Conspiracies
of roots and bulbs and seeds! And who knows
what under the stones the worms are up to?



      Good Friday, 2004

Since time flies one way like an arrow,
the sugar can’t be stirred out of your oatmeal
and no matter how long the murderer sobs
on the median strip—sorry!—he can’t reverse
his swerve, cannot rescind his drink

before the crash. Like him, was Jesus heartsick
to find history’s not a zipper running both ways?
He who loved eternity—its roominess,
its reversibility—as he grew up, did he
have to learn he never could unsay a thing

he’d said? And yet today, like all Good Fridays,
He hangs on the cross again. On altars
he hangs. On necklaces. His death is like an x
that rides the wheels of time to come again
in ritual, that miniature eternity, that spring

re-sprung. Dear God, there in your big eternity,
remember that your hands and feet can never
be unscarred again. Hear these words spoken
by a body that suffers, by a tongue
that will stiffen soon and be gone.

Have mercy on us who love time.
May this prayer be a tire
that rolls over every inch of the way
to find You. May it be a bell
which can never be unrung.


Trusting and believing

A pair of British imports explores faith of different kinds. Millions, directed by Danny Boyle from a script by Frank Cottrell Boyce, is by far the slicker of the two. It is chock-full of glitzy visual effects, something to be expected from the man who directed the kinetic drug film Trainspotting.


Did the blessed mother note the measure of the moon?
Ancient church tradition says they came on the same day—
that Gabriel’s whispered “hail” shared Golgotha’s dark noon,
that her pain embraced perfection and who are we to say?

It was exquisite sorrow to have her melody become
counterpoint to her son’s words arduously spoken
that afternoon of agony; below she stood mute, numb,
to watch his body slowly punctured, torn and broken.

How did she ponder and how could her heart sustain
a moment of astonishment, an anniversary gloss,
now—forlorn as vinegar; bitter balm for pain.
But she would hold to his wine, hard-won from torture, loss,

his new wine of forgiveness, now soaking into sod;
trusting it could endow her to forgive even her God.