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A Poem by Lucia Walton Robinson: "Easter Morning"

April 16, 2017

         

 

 

 

 

      Easter Morning

 

Light had gone from the world:

Their Master, Jesus, crucified–

They were alone, to darkness hurled

the fearful, darkening day He died.

Few had followed to His cross.

John was with Him at the end,

but disciples scattered to escape more loss          

when Judas betrayed Him.  Peter, stout friend,

defended his Master, then denied Him

thrice, and fled to save his life.

John and His mother stayed beside Him

with Mary of Magdala and Cleopas’ wife.

 

By this disgraceful means he died.

The dumb earth groaned that light had gone.          

Two nights dragged by while Magdalena cried

for Jesus, sealed behind a stone.

The Master’s band crept back, bereaved,

outcast, in hunted terror hidden.

Huddling together, together they grieved,

lost and comfortless, guilt-ridden.

Peter cursed his own betraying

fear; John wept; none slept; some stood about

His mother Mary, who knelt by a cold hearth praying

when Mary of Magdala stole out.

 

Wraithlike, in silent trembling fright,

with her grieving all forspent,

Mary crept through waning night

toward the tomb that had been lent

her Lord.  With gentle care she bore,

wrapped in a kerchief, a precious hoard

of unguents to anoint the sore

wounds men had inflicted on her Lord.

 

Through gray unwakened streets she sped,

hoping none would see her pass,

all her joy and beauty dead,

spilled like blood upon the grass.

In her mind was one thought only:

how to give Him one last gift–

how to reach Him in the lonely

sealed-up shelter on the cliff.

                                                                                                             

One thought only tore her mind–

that His body not be left

all alone, untended, blind,

to molder in the frigid cleft.

 

So she came, a fresh wind beating

at her garments while she passed

sheep upon the hillside, bleating

as faint dawnstreaks lit the East.

In that bleak light, weary, shaken,

Mary stumbled to the tomb–

found it open and forsaken,

yawning maw of stone-cold gloom,

found an empty, cast-off shroud

where she sought to find her Lord–

found and, falling, cried aloud:

“They have taken my dear Lord!”

 

As she knelt there, shocked and quaking,

through the echo of her scream

One appeared, as though just waking                                    

from a hideous, fearsome dream–                                                  

appeared, and asked her why she wept.

Hopeless now, of no man wary,

through her tears, with sight inept

she told him. Then his one word: “Mary!”

brought her to unstable feet

reaching toward that single word,

spoken low, so strong and sweet

this could only be her Lord.

“Master!”

               “Yes, my dear, it is I.

Do not touch me yet, nor fear,

but to our mourning comrades fly.

Tell them you have seen me here.”

 

On wings of joy lithe Mary flew

down hill and over sunlit path

bursting with the love she knew

would not quail before man’s wrath–

burst upon her friends to tell them

she had seen the risen Lord!

joyfully–and then beheld them

unbelieving of her word.

They at first, like us, dumbfounded

                                                                                               

at her transformed, radiant face,

disbelieving, scared, astounded,

all held off from her embrace–

all but Mary, Jesus’ mother,

who to Magdalena came,

recognizing like no other

miracle’s sweet piercing flame.

 

“Woman, you are mad!” men uttered;

“No one rises from the dead.

Grief has left your senses cluttered–

come, lie down upon your bed.”

Still she cried, “But I have seen Him!

Seen His face and heard His voice!

Stop your doubting, don’t blaspheme Him!

Come with me! Come and rejoice!”

 

Numb and anxious, John stared at her,

saw light steady in her eyes.

Hope flared in him. “Don’t berate her–

she’s not mad! She never lies–

but, Magdalena, Mary dearest,

all the night you keened and wept.

You were of us all His nearest–

are you sure that, as dawn crept,

God did not send sleep to salve you,

sleep with healing, hopeful dreams?

You were near Him, child, but have you

swallowed whole what merely seems?”

 

“He’s alive, John–He, our Lord!

wrapped in light, not wan and shrouded–

strong with life though pierced with sword!”

 

‘Round them the disciples crowded,

wanting to believe–aghast.

John, remembering Jesus’ promise,

strapped his sandals on in haste.

“He said He wouldn’t stay from us–

would raise the temple in three days!

Hurry, brothers! move, make room!

See the truth in Mary’s face!

Come! Let’s find this empty tomb!”


                                                                                                                

Peter grasped his staff and followed

up the sunlit, silent street

to the cliff from which was hollowed

Joseph’s tomb, on stumbling feet.                 

 

So they saw Him, on that morning,

saw as many have seen since

God’s glory to believers dawning

in the risen, living Prince.

Thus they lived and died proclaiming

the great wondrous truth they knew:

God no longer all sin blaming

Through His Son forgives us too,

sends the holy, blessing Spirit

till we live with Him again.

Marys, Peters–we are near it.

May He come to us. Amen.

                          

                           © Lucia Walton Robinson  .

                            ( Maundy Thursday-Good Friday, 1983)

 

Lucia Walton Robinson is a born-again Episcopalian filled with gratitude for salvation.

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