At Jerusalem's Gate

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writ­ten by Nik­ki Grimes
illus­trat­ed with wood­cuts by
David Framp­ton
Eerd­man Books for Young Read­ers, 2005

At Jerusalem’s Gate: Poems of Easter

From the Book

“From A Distance”

The shad­ow of the thing
was all I saw,
the cross­es, three, a blot
against the sky.
I stood far off, awash
in tears and shame,
angry with him—who else
was there to blame?
His promised king­dom seemed
a dream still­born,
tht world in which he’d rule
in peace and light.
For there on Cal­vary
with­in my sight
all hope was pierced with him
upon the cross.
What could I do but weep,
for all was lost.

from At Jerusalem’s Gate
© 2005 by Nik­ki Grimes

About the Book

A man in the crowd at Jerusalem vies to see Jesus; a dis­ci­ple recounts details of the Last Sup­per; Pilate’s wife fears her hus­band’s deci­sion. Begin­ning with Christ’s tri­umphant arrival in Jerusalem, Nik­ki Grimes explores the first East­er through the voic­es of those who wit­nessed it.

The author’s intro­duc­tions pro­vide a thought­ful frame­work, and David Framp­ton’s beau­ti­ful­ly intri­cate and expres­sive wood­cuts illu­mi­nate each poem. At Jerusalem’s Gate offers read­ers of all ages insight into the most impor­tant moments in Chris­t­ian history.

Awards and Recognition

  • Cleve­land Pub­lic Library Best Books of 2005



Through beau­ti­ful, lucid free verse, Nik­ki Grimes explores some of the ambigu­ous, enig­mat­ic events and cir­cum­stances lead­ing up to the cen­tral theme behind the annu­al East­er obser­vance. Twen­ty-two poems intro­duced by a brief explana­to­ry para­graph por­tray the sto­ry through the imag­ined eyes of the prin­ci­pals involved. Details of the Last Sup­per, Pilate’s wife’s role, the reli­gious coun­cil tri­bunal, Mary’s grief, the dark­en­ing of the sky at the time of the cru­ci­fix­ion and the site of the ascen­sion are all includ­ed. Ques­tions raised in each piece encour­age dis­cus­sion of mul­ti­ple inter­pre­ta­tions, as in the poem titled “What’s in a Name?,” which refers to Judas’s role as one of betray­er and the sub­se­quent altered impli­ca­tion to his name. Poet­ry is gen­tle yet thought­ful, allud­ing to the bru­tal­i­ty of the exe­cu­tion while pro­vid­ing an almost prayer-like per­son­al reflec­tion. Mul­ti-col­ored wood­cuts sug­gest the emo­tion and mood of each scene in a par­o­dy of stained glass. A hand­some, well-designed offer­ing for mid­dle read­ers and fam­i­lies. (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

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