Seven Stanzas at Easter  

Posted by Denis Haack in , ,

Make no mistake: if He rose at all

it was as His body;

if the cells' dissolution did not reverse, the molecules

reknit, the amino acids rekindle,

the Church will fall.


It was not as the flowers,

each soft Spring recurrent;

it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled

eyes of the eleven apostles;

it was as His flesh: ours.


The same hinged thumbs and toes,

the same valved heart

that—pierced—died, withered, paused, and then

regathered out of enduring Might

new strength to enclose.


Let us not mock God with metaphor,

analogy, sidestepping, transcendence;

making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the

faded credulity of earlier ages:

let us walk through the door.


The stone is rolled back, not papier-mâché,

not a stone in a story,

but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow

grinding of time will eclipse for each of us

the wide light of day.


And if we will have an angel at the tomb,

make it a real angel,

weighty with Max Planck's quanta, vivid with hair,

opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen

spun on a definite loom.


Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,

for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,

lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are

embarrassed by the miracle,

and crushed by remonstrance.


~John Updike


Have a blessed Easter.

Christ is Risen!


(Many thanks to my good friend, Steve Froehlich for sending me this poem.)


This entry was posted at Thursday, April 09, 2009 and is filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


Denis, I thought that this poem was yours until I reached the end! What a lovely meditation, and what a credit to Mr. Updike that he thinks as thoughtfully and wonder-fully as our friend Denis. Thanks to God for such a concrete miracle for our very concrete need, and poets to tell it again to our numb brains and hearts.

April 11, 2009 at 12:25 AM

Would that I could express my appreciation of this poem in words as beautiful and moving. Alas! I cannot. But I can, and do, offer my thanks for it. It enriches me.

April 13, 2009 at 9:56 AM

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