the good news
told in the dogwood’s petals
about how he bled for us
told over and over each spring
I first shared this tanka on Twitter as I was inspired to write it by #WrittenRiver prompt 917 “for all eternity.”
The legend of the dogwood tree comes from a poem, author unknown, about the relationship between the tree and the cross on which Jesus was crucified:
In Jesus’ time, the dogwood grew
To a stately size and a lovely hue.
‘Twas strong and firm, its branches interwoven.
For the cross of Christ its timbers were chosen.
Seeing the distress at this use of their wood
Christ made a promise which still holds good:
“Never again shall the dogwood grow
Large enough to be used so.
Slender and twisted, it shall be
With blossoms like the cross for all to see.
As blood stains the petals marked in brown,
The blossom’s center wears a thorny crown.
All who see it will remember Me
Crucified on a cross from the dogwood tree.
Cherished and protected, this tree shall be
A reminder to all of My agony.”
The dogwood is a genus of between thirty and sixty plants including shrubs, evergreens, and flowering trees. Dogwoods are most common in China, Japan, and the US, but can also be found in Eurasia, although not naturally. The wood is very hard, but, as the poem suggests, trees large enough to provide lumber for a cross are rare.
To see where I found this information click here.