Easter morning. A triptych of Easter poems I’ve composed over the years, “Morning, breath”, “After the tomb”, and “Death’s death.”
Most of us have heard the story. Now, we must learn again how to breath…
As morning reaches where only night had been,
dew once more settles on the brittle earth
and breath returns to one,
so all can breathe again.
After the tomb
When blood, still damp, soaked through
the sleeves of shrug-shoulder’d men,
did you cry for their laughter?
Were your accusers held in sleep
when Mary’s shaking hands
held fast your plundered feet?
How long before bewildered men
and doting women find again
their reasons for remonstrance?
Will a miracle suffice
to fill the gaps in minds too young
not to lust for proof?
Were the angels surprised
to find their silenced songs
reignited for their fittest subject?
Did you know these walls would
only remind you of this one, unending breath?
This one effortless act for one so bored of death?
Live! Live! Not one minute
more to solemnize the squaring truths
of the dark, exasperating. Exsanguinating.
The probing luminant, juggernaut
of dawn brought down as a quickening
shade of brilliance over the tar-black,
songless night – now gasping out
its own greying reminiscence.
Kicking against the goads, a denouement
of despair, decay’s quietus comes to mock.
But its voice is too dry now for anything more
than the androgynous whisper of a skeleton.
The bones rattle and try in vain to spark, to scare,
to survive the day, already here.
Death, this needy after-thought, this choking
wheeze of duskish, tight-lipp’d groaning –
it can no longer hunt, its legs are
broken, a dislocated shoulder no longer
suited to hefting hopelessness.
Spring! Spring! O antediluvian Spring! How
many are your salted children, lined up
outside your garden wall. Someone
has unchink’d the tangled gate and trodden new
footprints – fresh, ancient and deep – in the Virgin soil.
We come too, having hid ourselves in
the wisp of your blood-colour’d sleeves.
Droughted, now, a tomb and the perfect surprise:
breaths in lungs once shut, re-sighted eyes,
and in the first of all new hours,
Someone has made light work of death.
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