Poem: The Olive Pressed

We have some more guest poetry from Cameron Wood who blog at Cultural Rumbles

The Olive Pressed

I.

The Olive Tree that would my wild branch tame
Stood meekly by the pure spring drinking life
Unblemished, until false accusers came
With biting nails and hammers forged for strife,
And broke the mighty branches of that tree
Then razed it to Golgotha, drawing blood
While harsh ropes bound the tree in cutting tether.
The Pure Olive prayed: this I do for thee,
And – pressed – wept oil upon the blood-stained wood,
Which oil would sanctify all pure endeavor.

Thus issued forth the stream no sin could still,
To flood the thirsty cup of absolution.
And as accusers raged upon that hill
The Tree did weep the tears of purification
For sin-stained folk who would clean garments show.
For on the Olive Tree mixed blood and oil
Within the crushing press of our deepest pains;
And from such bitter drink the Tree does know
Our every leaf and root, and won’t recoil
From washing us until no dross remains.

II.

When, fasting, I came to the Olive Cross–
My wild branch in hand and heavily borne–
I thought that sacrifice was naught but loss,
And that such loss would end in bitter mourn,
Because I loved my sins. While the old wants laughed,
I tended to my branch as best I could,
But all that graced my branch when I was done
Was one weak blossom, so I took to graft
Onto my branch a Tree-grown shoot that would
Abet my own, for loneness grieved my one.

With two tame blossoms on my branch I knelt
And gave humble prayer upon that hill,
And wept for pain that all my years I’d felt;
Then I took symbols which I hoped would fill
My soul, and with hands still moist with oil
I poured a sacral drink and broke my bread,
And blessed them, reverencing the Olive torn.
Then succor came, abating my heart’s toil;
And saw I that which cast away my dread:
Pure olives from my blossoms had been born.

III.

That day the Olive Tree to me did say:
Canst thou be joyful even in duress?
Then came to me deep trials through which the only way
To pass did lay my fruits upon the Press.
My heart did sorrow, but in life’s stone crush
Sweet oil flowed out; then heard I through my rue:
Dost now though understand my love for thee?
And so again my verdant branch grew lush.
Heard I: As by thy pressed fruit I know you,
So by that very fruit dost thou know me.

And then upon the hill the Tree became
An Altar made of polished olive wood,
Enquiring me if all my fruit I’d tame,
Enquiring if I’d bind there all I could.
I wondered, could I sacrifice my all?
How could I not? The olives in my hand
Did show how trials had purged away the dross.
Thus, grafted to the Altar, straight and tall,
My branch became a tree that burst its band.
Heard I: True sacrifice is never loss.

IV.

In time I grew to ancient age as well;
My branches and my roots entwined complete
The Altar where upon my knees I fell
And where by grafting I did live replete.
My child, it said to me the day I died,
The Husbandman awaits, art though afraid?
Ah, dearest Lord, I smiled, I have no fears,
For it was Thee who blessed me when I cried,
And it is at Thy Altar I am laid,
And so beyond death’s veil you’ll kiss my tears.

For thou art Husbandman and Olive Tree,
And thou art Olive pure and Olive pressed,
So, too, Thou art the Altar at my knee,
Where spilled the blood and oil with which I’m blessed.
Well said, my child, well said! Thou hast been true;
‘Twere in my Press you overcame thy gall,
My blood and oil I gave as Olive Tree,
As Altar Pure thy best-grown fruits I knew,
As Husbandman I wash and dress thy all;
Now come, dear friend, and know Eternity!

by Cameron C. Wood
copyright 2017

  • Lorenzo Fossi

    Powerfull. Happy Easter everyone!

  • Ben Zwycky

    beautifully put. Bravo!

  • We need more poetry