I wrote this a year ago to the day, and today also happens to be Good Friday. I wrote it after reading in Russ Ramsey’s wonderful The Passion and the Glory that the perfume Mary poured on Jesus a few days before he went to the cross would have lingered on him for days afterward. And it was so exotic that only people of high nobility, like kings, would have it.
Strange, through the sweat and spit
I can smell it:
The scent of a king,
The scent of one sent
To do battle and establish a throne,
To raise up armies and defeat foes.
He lies crumbled in dust
But can’t you smell it?
That perfume hangs in the air like an unseen banner.
It lingers after he leaves,
Like the train of a robe in a coronation march.
But we don’t follow our noses,
We still trust in our eyes:
We look at his broken body
And think the sign on his cross lies:
A king? Anything but.
He smelled like one anointed.