Mary Oliver, Mark's gospel and Jesus' donkey


When they drew near to Jerusalem, Jesus sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately on entering it, you will find a donkey tethered there on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it here." So they went off and found a donkey tethered at a gate outside on the street, and they untied it and brought it to Jesus and put their cloaks over it. And he sat on it.  Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. Those preceding him as well as those following kept crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna!"  (Mark 11) 

The Poet Thinks of the Donkey
On the outskirts of Jerusalem
the donkey waited.
Not especially brave,
or filled with understanding,
he stood and waited.
How horses, turned out into the meadow, 
   leap with delight!
How doves, released from their cages,
   clatter away, splashed with sunlight.
But the donkey, tied to a tree as usual, waited.
Then he let himself be led away.
Then he let the stranger mount.
Never had he seen such crowds!
And I wonder if he at all imagined what was to happen.
Still, he was what he had always been: small, dark, obedient.
I hope, finally, he felt brave.
I hope, finally, he loved the man who rode so lightly upon him,
as he lifted one dusty hoof and stepped, as he had to, forward.

- Mary Oliver





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