Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Feast Day of Easter

Here we are, Easter morning, the end of our Lenten pilgrimmage.  Our Easter morning is relatively quiet:  no children ripping into Easter baskets, no sunrise service, no big breakfast.  It gives me time to think about that long-ago Easter morning, coming after sadness that's almost inconceivable to me.

Last night we watched Mel Gibson's The Passion of Christ after friends told us how good it was.  I worried about the goriness, but it seemed right for Holy Saturday.  It created a good pause, as we moved from Good Friday towards this morning.

As I watched it, I thought about all of those families through the centuries who have had loved ones ripped from them because of oppressive state governments.  My mind went to a different movie, Missing, where the characters are determined to get answers about their missing loved one, and they uncover horrifying truths about the lengths a government will go to suppress dissent.

Jesus found himself sucked into a state maw, but unlike so many, he was able to transform a horrifying event into one of redemption.

I've always found my attention rivetted by the idea of the women who get to the garden early, after days of weeping, to find their loved one returned.  A few years ago, I found myself thinking about the gardener.  This poem was the result.  It first appeared in issue 3 of Eye to the Telescope. The whole volume is devoted to persona poems and edited by Jeannine Hall Gailey.

The Gardener’s Tale

I liked to get to the garden
early, before the harsh
light of day revealed
all my mistakes, all the growth
I couldn’t contain.

I liked the pre-dawn
hours, when I knew
the flowers by their smells
as I rustled
their stems.

That morning I saw
him first. He asked
for bread, and I had a bit
to share. I offered
him olives and some cheese
from my son Simon’s goat.

We talked of ways to attract
butterflies to the garden:
the need for nectar
and leaves for the babies.
I showed him a tree
that had been ailing,
and he suggested a different nourishment.

I thanked him for his wisdom
and moved to the border
of the garden. I didn’t make
the connections until I heard
the shrieks of the women
and Peter nearly knocked me down.

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