Monday, March 28, 2016

Very early, the morning after (#Poetry Monday*)

He is risen. The tomb is empty. Almost.

The angel, waiting, folded the grave clothes,
looked around, neatened up this and that.
He chuckled to himself, thinking about
how the guards had fallen down
when he showed up to move the stone.
They dropped like stones. Then scattered
like startled dazed rats.

Now, he waited.

He knew the women were on their way
and they would be the first to hear the news.
The good news. The great news.
The news that, even to him, was amazing.

“He is risen!”

He recalled how, at The Birth, in another cave,
he and a few others had startled some shepherds
outside the little town of Bethlehem.
The shepherds seemed to have more courageous
hearts than these guards, he mused. Interesting.
Anyway, then the news was different.

“He is born!”

He didn’t really understand all this being born
and being dead stuff. It was such an alien concept,
very hard to get clear on. But he felt he at least
understood the basics as well as his bright comrades.

And now, he waited. This time he would deliver
the news alone. Quietly. There was no need to
terrify the women. They’d been through enough.
What they needed now was confirmation
and assurance.

All He had told them was true. All of it.

Just as had been done with the shepherds,
he decided he would open with some version
of “Fear not!” He practiced a few variations
out loud and then settled on, “Don’t be alarmed!”
What next? Keep it simple and direct, he thought.

“He is not here!”

What else? Oh yes, he should remind them of all
He had taught, somehow capture it in a nutshell.
You know, just enough to help them resurface
all their memories of their times with Him.

And he knew gentleness was the best approach.
That’s why he had been selected. He was powerful
when power was called for, as it was when he
rolled away the stone and made an impression
on the guards. The earthquake was a nice touch.
But he also knew how to be more intimate
and soothing. He was made for this moment.

The women arrived.

They were carrying spices and more for the body
and they were clearly startled when they saw him.
As gently as he could, with open hands extended,
welcoming, calming, he spoke.

“Don’t be alarmed. He is not here. Just as He said,
He has risen.”

Well, he spoke words to that effect. The point wasn’t
the specific words, but the message behind them.
And the women appeared to understand. They seemed
able to quickly grasp what they were seeing,
remember all He had taught, and put it together.
Others would have a harder time.

The women left quickly, amazed and breathless,
but not in fear or flight as with the guards.
Rather, nearly giddy with delight and awe and urgency.
They hurried back to the others, to the eleven,
bearing this most great good news.

“He is risen! Really! Go! Look!”

He is risen, indeed, thought the angel.
And now the women and the others were off
on a most interesting journey. The Spirit
was up next. That’s definitely going
to be something, he chuckled to himself.

He knew Jesus was busy with a few
final tasks. Tying up loose ends,
as he believed humans might say it.
He looked around the cave, the empty tomb,
once more. Satisfied that everything
was in order, he vanished.

Outside, in the garden, the wind
began to blow.

* Its PoMo! To learn about PoMo (POetry MOnday), click here. What are you thinking about, meditating on, mulling over this Easter season? Share your thoughts and insights in the comments! 

Just for fun:

This poem is included in this collection:


  1. Great poem, Stephen. Also, this reminds me of a few women in my life who would have been the first to the tomb. Or was it only women who had the task of post-death rituals?


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