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Post Resurrection 101
Luke 24:13-35

Awash in grief
we fled Jerusalem,
dust of that place
clinging to us
even as we ran.
No words
tears only
making me blind
once again.

When the stranger met us
I resented him,
hated him.
Could he not see the grief?
Or was he blind too?
He asked for our story
and in sobs
we threw words at him
in hopes of seeing his tears.

He was pleasant
The rage of our grief
did not touch him.
He began quoting Scripture
line after line of stale
tired verses.
Did he not hear our grief?

For miles he ignored our weeping.

on the doorstep
of the familiar again
he finished with us and
turned to go.
My grief rose up
and captured him.
I dragged him inside the tomb
of our home.
Seated at our table
his memorized words
were useless.
We offered him our sorrow
on heaping plates.
He took them
at last.
He broke open before us
and rose again
fleeing the tomb.
He left us behind,
two messengers
blazing in the night.

-- Shannon O’Donnell
Tacoma, Wash.

Good Friday

my soul awakes
before the mind
and eyes unlatch,
before I reason why
discomfort sharp as thorns
is rising in my bones

in this place
which mind not fully roused
allows, I see
a broken beaten Man
soldered to the wood
with nails and blood,
man and cross
now all of one piece,

but more,
I see those arms stretched
taut in screaming ache
as eagle’s wings
fullspread in mammoth grace,
poised, at the ready,
for the last grand flight

-- Ethel Pochocki
Brooks, Maine

The Gardener

This is a quiet ground to garden,
This resting-place of the dead, and yesterday
Should have been quieter still, with the Sabbath
Falling after the executions of the day before.
The rich man’s tomb is filled now,
That I saw, rich enough to have a guard
Set overnight: some rowdy Romans drinking
Until all hours, and even when they slept,
No peace and quiet -- all night the sky lit up
As in that year once of the great star,
More star-born winds among the rocks and trees,
And sounds like flocks of birds in passage
Overhead. I kept my hut. The dead are walking,
Was my fear. And here it is day again,
Bright in its dawning, brighter still
For what is over. Little has stirred:
Only a pair of mourners, with their urns,
Women most likely, walking this way
Slowly, and just about to meet a third.

-- Nancy G. Westerfield
Kearny, Neb.


I shut my eyes
against yellow daffodil light,
balmy air, cleansing rains
do not revive hope in me.
I want to stay hidden
in winter darkness.

But I can’t ignore the cardinal’s song,
the swelling buds of reawakened trees; so
I’ve made a truce with April,
she can make me tipsy
with the scent of hyacinths, or
the surprise of crocuses
popping up amidst dead leaves;

Though I’m not ready, April,
I won’t resist you.
Go ahead, unlock my eyes,
resurrect me to new life.

-- Jane M. Nirella
Middletown, N.J.

2001 in Poetry

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Poems should be previously unpublished and limited to about 50 lines and preferably typed. Please send poems to NCR POETRY, 115 E. Armour Blvd., Kansas City MO 64111-1203. Or via e-mail to poetry@natcath.org or fax (816) 968-2280. Please include your street address, city, state, zip and daytime telephone number. NCR offers a small payment for poems we publish, so please include your Social Security number.

National Catholic Reporter, April 20, 2001