Sheela Stations

Sheela Stations


Sheila 1Prologue:
I am female stone
Death has made me stone
Above the waters
High in the arch
Where the believers pray
And sing their prayer
I am singing stone,
Stone faith, stone memory,
Stone witness, stone truth,
Stone sex, stone birth
Birth has made me stone.

I am fertile stone
Everlasting life
Has made me stone,
Has made of my flesh,
Singing prayer stone,
Above the waters
High in the arch,
I am life from death of stone,
A church of fertile
Female stone
For all and every time.

Now, in the end
As in the beginning…


I Jesus is condemned to death
The smell of soldiers.
Water brings death.
The blood red of your garment
Breaks reflected
In the shattered innocence of the bowl
Of water.
The fingertips of condemnation
Paddle in the pool
Of Eternity.
The soldier’s cry startles Time
The whip raised tears Time.
Yet, there is Time and there shall be Time
For the smell of soldiers
For their cry
And for their tears.


II Jesus is laden with the Cross
The pillars are gathered round you
Like a huddle of shameful witnesses.
Walls of court, church and tomb
Stand silent.
Silent witness breaks
As hard as stone breaks
As hard as the breaking heart breaks
How can witness see, hear, speak
While on your back
The Cross is lain?
Witness must be stone
Here and now, forever.
The pillars grieve!
Stone voices silent roar!


III Jesus falls the first time
Was it stone under your feet that tripped you
And sent you sprawling to the ground?
Stone that embraced you as you fell?
Beneath the crowd’s stare
Beneath the soldier’s menace
The Earth gathers you
Violently into its arms
Woman stone of love
Unending witness
Holds you
Lifts you up
Faithful unto Death
To this new Birth.


IV Jesus meets his afflicted mother   
This is the stony way.
In the path of your Cross
A mother strays
Your eyes see and cry
For her eyes
Dear Mammy
Dear lovely Mammy
A son to save the world
And dear lovely Mammy
Alone with death…
Please don’t leave me
I love my Mammy!
Break this stone!


V Simon helps Jesus with the Cross   
What is this man?
He could be my father…
Balding, grey,
Broken with years.
He leans to the task
Lends hands to the task
Lifts the Eternal world
Towards the inaccessible sky
And succours Time…
Doubling to the Cross
He helps to carry it.
And heaves the fragile wood
Of Time
Back towards the heart
Of the Universe.


VI Veronica offers Jesus a towel   
She is flashing green
The sky flashes behind her
Like a tear in the darkness.
She is perfumed and sweet
Her hands are kindness.
She kneels to wipe away
The tears, the blood
The sweat and pain
From his face
Soft woman
He leaves an imprint in her
Like a footfall in stone
But soft… not hard…
She is witness
And has become
His remembered image
Made of her cloth.
O Veronica
Constant stone
True memory
Truth made woman.


VII Jesus falls for the second time   
Unrelenting stone of witness
Pulls down yet again
The silent word
To witness Time
In a dying world.
The stones cut
And bleed.
Grey, red stone
Like chunky, brute
In the broken earth.


VIII Jesus consoles the women
On their knees
They pray.
The sharp stone
Cuts their knees.
Their voices keen
The breaking sky
The broken world
The death of Time.

As he stumbles past
He somehow touches them
This is no present
That will last
But future that consoles you…
Be as stone
And wait
The melting happiness
Of tomorrow’s myriad
Bright loves.

Peace be with you!


IX Jesus falls a third time   
Do you fall
Seeking respite
Or the hope of flowers?
Do you look up seeking
In a dark sky
The possibility of stars?
The sky too
Like the earth
Is stone…
In death you are alone.
On the crest of the hill you see
They are already waiting, bleeding,
Hoping to steal Time
Of its victory.
Rise up! Stand up!
Death sings your name
To the Eternal.
You are nothing
You are Salvation.
Your Time has come.


X Jesus is stripped of his garments
His mother watches
Woman stone
Her son
Made dying flesh
Made Naked light
Torn and bleeding.

Naked witness
A thing
Of mud and blood
And every filth
Like some prisoner to Time
Pulled out of a toilet somewhere
Coughing and spluttering
His guts up.
Like some shadowed, hopeless thing
Put down with a bullet
In the night.
Like a soldier tortured
Stripped of his clothes
And left for dead.

Naked skin
Crushed by naked stone.
The naked heart of the world
Ground down to perfect
Naked Pain
Under the crowd’s grinning triumph.


XI Jesus is nailed to the Cross
Every nook and cranny
Of stone
Feels the pain that never dies.
Again and again
Stone screams as
The Hammer falls.

Sharp! Sharp! Sharp!



XII Jesus dies on the Cross
Now it’s Time.
The rivers fill and run
And water sings
Under the singing stone
Under the high arch.
Singing female stone
Gazes out upon
The green fields
The blue heaven
The golden hills that reach
Towards Eternity.

Fertile stone sings
This bright day of Birth.
This afternoon
A white sky like dawn
Spreads on the horizon
Above the river’s
Strange serenity.


XIII Jesus is taken down from the Cross  
Her hands that often held him
Cuddled him as a baby
Sheltered him as a boy
Blessed him as a man
Now hold him torn
And sundered stone
In her hands she gathers
The rubble of Time
And holds it bleeding
A long while
His wounds kiss her garments
And her hands
He who was born in her arms
Is now dead in her arms.
No memory of tears will wash away
From her
His stain.


XIIII Jesus is laid in the Tomb
Imprisoning stone.
Stone all around you.
Stone of silence
Stone of death
Stone of the grave
A Night of stone.
A World of stone
An Eternity of stone
Hard as stone
To see now is to be stone
To witness now is to be stone
These truths of stone I cannot hold
My stone sex breaks
It breaks


Not a whisper.
Not a breath.
Not a word.

My silent sex
Deep in stone
Embraces the silken dawn
Kisses the morning sun
Bathes in the honey lawn
Caresses the river’s run.

In the fields
In ruins
In the darkened undergallery of museums
Silent stone witness
Sings of truth, of faith,
Of hope, and charity.

Stone of Memory
Stone of Truth
Stone of Light
Stone of Witness
Stone of Life
Stone of Love
Stone of Heaven
Stone of Happiness
Stone of Eternity
Be true to us!

Emerge from Time
Woman Stone
Fertile Stone!

Female Church of Stone
Redeeming Stone
Give us

For Stone is Risen
And Stone shall never die.