In the face of great suffering,
too many of us are erased,
our personalities too weak, too slight,
too insubstantial to endure.
Like poorly dyed cloth,
we are bleached by exposure
to cataclysmic forces.
Yet there are others who are defined by suffering,
who find a certain stature, who gain nobility
impossible to ignore.
They reflect this road to crucifixion.
She is the first.
We do not know her name,
only the tag, her pseudonym:
Veronica, ‘the true image’.
Whether on her handkerchief or her countenance,
it is no matter.
He gives her his features to reflect:
a face cast for endurance
facing squarely whatever ordeal is dealt.
His sacred impression is a gift,
Found in countless thousands the world over:
countenances reflecting his features,
carrying courage abroad.