That Folded Head Cloth


Momentous rising,

shuffling off the stench

of death; the world a-tilt;

a cosmic shining in that soiled

empty sheet, spices strewn across the barren

floor; life undying bursting

through the cloth once tightly

shrouding our mortality.


And that lone head cloth,

folded, tidy, set apart,

quiet in a shining

all its own, whisper of divine

attentiveness to the minutiae

of our lives, quotidian patterns,

daily tasks that shape our days; hint

of holy presence, quiet glow

in all the foldings and unfoldings

of our tidy, not-so-tidy everydays.

2 thoughts on “That Folded Head Cloth

  1. Good Lord . . . where to begin!

    I always read your poems several times, the first time which usually ends with a gasp of, “Oh, my, I never thought of that!” or “Girlfriend, can write!” Then I read it to isolate its poetic mastery. Sorry to get technical on you, but bear with me, I do this for myself as well.

    First, check out the assonance — mostly with “s” sounds which gives this entire poem a whisper-like quality which is appropriate given the sacredness of the subject.

    Second, check out the images: world-a-tilt; soiled empty sheet (I never thought of it as soiled, but it helps to know that Jesus gets into the gutter with us); spices strewn across the barren floor (like all of us); life undying bursting (check out the “u” sounds, not to mention the onomatopoeia); “shrouding our mortality; (check out the “ou” sounds, almost like “ouch” — mortality often hurts, doesn’t it?); whisper of divine (see my first point above why this line is working hard); quotidian patterns (the word, “quotidian” itself seems to be a pattern); hint of holy presence (I hate that it sometimes is only a hint, like we have to figure out how to live FOR OURSELVES); foldings and unfoldings (again assonance and onomatopoeia not to mention how life with Jesus really IS — peeling an onion, etc.)

    Thanks for bearing with my tidy and not-so-tidy technical assessment.

    Regarding the message of the poem itself: I never thought two seconds about that head cloth. Never. Its tidiness. How a resurrected person/God would take a moment to fold the cloth that was undoubtedly the first thing he removed. If I had discovered I had been resurrected, I would have ripped off everything and gotten the hell outta there. But Jesus took his time. He knew he had time. He made even this moment sacred.

    I’ve never told you this before, but I keep a small baby blanket folded on top of one of my bed pillows. My cat, Isaac, was euthanized on it. I fold it every morning. Every morning, I take that moment. My quotidian pattern, my hint of holy presence.

    Thank you for reminding me.

  2. Sharonimo, where do I begin with my HUGE THANK YOU! And where can I sign up for a poetry/writing course with you?! I am so grateful for your perceptive reading and for your noting of things I have to admit (embarrassedly!) that I’m not even aware of (forgive that ending prep, Teach!). I have sooo much to learn from you and am so grateful for your eagle eye, mind, and heart. I learn from every one of your helpful comments. And I have to tell you that when I read of your folded baby blanket on top of one of your bed pillows, I had to wipe away a few tears. Holy tears, that brought to me more than just a hint of holy presence as I thought about (and will think about often now) your daily risings and loving foldings.

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