Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

Easter Morning

Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

Easter Morning

Article excerpt

for René Girard

Quick as dawn, the dogwoods have raised

improbable awnings, christened with rain.

Thrusts of witch-hazel, stands of rue,

and there-there, across the stream,

in the shade of those dark-lichened rocks-

white phlox and geranium strain

to reach the angled light. One bright

morning, a clean April day,

amazes familiar paths with a green

tangle and baizes the winter's stain.

Faster each Easter, my daughter flies

past tumbled mounds where brambles grow.

The bloodroots flower near her feet

as delicate as bible leaves,

and slow, persistent ivy kindles

on old trees. The year will know

a fresh redemption: burning green,

the greenwood glows-till ash

and thorn fall back to sleep,

counterpaned again with snow.

Beneath such trees, with hand and knife,

cold priests once tried to wake the leaf,

the root, the branch-the frozen world

that needs warm life for spring.

A lamb, a child: the shrouds of snow

would melt in their fresh blood-as grief

by grief, pain revenged by pain,

we paid the sacrificial debt

that swells with each repaying death.

And where shall we look for love's relief?

My daughter runs by the brief flowers:

touch-me-nots among the stones,

bluebells and sorrels, Solomon's seal. …

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