The Beginning of the End: a poem for resurrection

Rembrandt van Rijn, The Three Marys at the Tomb, sketch; c. 1655.

“After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: “He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.” Now I have told you.’ So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. ‘Greetings,’ he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.'”

Shadows stretched long and deep from the sunrise
on that day,
tracing the rough-hewn stone edge of the tomb.
On that day,
Mary’s somber footsteps shivered with surprise
in the way
the Savior’s silent tomb became a womb,
in the way
the angel’s earthquake language shook her life
on that day.
The death grip rescinded, new life subsumed
on that day
grief and joy, loss and gain. All revivified
in the way
Jesus struck death down in dying at noon;
in the way
divine power enfleshed, emerges alive
on that day.
No words from Mary’s lips, her vision trued
in the way
the beginning and the end were circumscribed
on that day
in flesh and bone through heaven’s glorious wound.

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