They Have Threatened us with Resurrection: Julia Esquivel

EucharistbThere is something here within us
which doesn’t let us sleep, which doesn’t let us rest,
which doesn’t stop pounding deep inside,
it is the silent, warm weeping
of Indian woman without their husbands,
it is the sad gaze of the children
fixed there beyond memory,
in the very pupil of our eyes
which during sleep, though closed, keep watch
with each contraction of the heart
in every awakening…
What keeps us from sleeping
is that they have threatened us with Resurrection!
Because at each nightfall,
though exhausted from the endless inventory
of killings since 1954,
yet we continue to love life,
and do not accept their death!
They have threatened us with Resurrection
Because we have felt their inert bodies
And their souls penetrated ours
doubly fortified.
Because in this marathon of Hope,
there are always others to relieve us
in bearing the courage necessary
to arrive at the goal which lies beyond death.
They have threatened us with Resurrection
because they do not know life (poor things!).
That is the whirlwind which does not let us sleep,
the reason why asleep, we keep watch,
and awake, we dream…
Accompany us then on this vigil
and you will know what it is to dream!
You will then know how marvellous it is
to live threatened with Resurrection!
To dream awake,
to keep watch asleep
to live while dying
and to already know oneself Resurrected!

[I first encountered this in Richard Rohr’s ‘Immortal Diamond’, finding it immensely powerful. I see it has been published in numerous blogs in different translations, forms, and extracts: this is the most complete I could find, marrying two versions into one. Rohr uses it as an illustration of who / what the ‘True Self’ is, and how he understands Resurrection . Many other blogs use it to illustrate justice and social action issues.]

Advertisements

St Thomas Didymus [the Twin]: Denise Levertov

And after the empty tomb
when they told me He lived, had spoken to Magdalen,
told me that though he had passed through the door like a ghost
He had breathed on them the breath of a living man—
even then when hope tried with a flutter of wings to lift me—
still, alone with myself, my heavy cry was the same:
Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.

I needed blood to tell me the truth,
the touch of blood.
Even my sight of the dark crust of it round the nailholes
didn’t thrust its meaning all the way through to that manifold knot in me
that willed to possess all knowledge,
refusing to loosen unless that insistence won the battle I fought with life.

But when my hand led by His hand’s firm clasp entered the unhealed wound,
my fingers encountering rib-bone and pulsing heat,
what I felt was not scalding pain, shame for my obstinate need,
but light, light streaming into me, over me,
filling the room as if I had lived till then in a cold cave,
and now coming forth for the first time,
the knot that bound me unravelling,
I witnessed all things quicken to color, to form,
my question not answered but given its part
in a vast unfolding design lit by a risen sun.

The Lightest Touch: David Whyte

Lazarus, by Jacob Epstein, in New College chapel, Oxford.

The Lightest Touch

Good poetry begins with
the lightest touch,
a breeze arriving from nowhere,
a whispered healing arrival,
a word in your ear,
a settling into things,
then like a hand in the dark
it arrests the whole body,
steeling you for revelation.

In the silence that follows
a great line
you can feel Lazarus
deep inside
even the laziest, most deathly afraid
part of you,
lift up his hands and walk toward the light

David Whyte

Sabbaths 2001: Wendell Berry

Sabbaths 2001 by Wendell Berry
I

He wakes in darkness. All around
are sounds of stones shifting, locks
unlocking. As if some one had lifted
away a great weight, light
falls on him. He has been asleep or simply
gone. He has known a long suffering
of himself, himself sharpened by the pain
of his wound of separation he now
no longer minds, for the pain is only himself
now, grown small, become a little growing
longing joy. Something teaches him
to rise, to stand and move out through
the opening the light has made.
He stands on the green hilltop amid
the cedars, the skewed stones, the earth all
opened doors. Half blind with light, he
traces with a forefinger the moss-grown
furrows of his name, hearing among the others
one woman’s cry. She is crying and laughing,
her voice a stream of silver he seems to see:
“Oh William, honey, is it you? Oh!”

II
Surely it will be for this: the redbud
pink, the wild plum white, yellow
trout lilies in the morning light,
the trees, the pastures turning green.
On the river, quiet at daybreak,
the reflections of the trees, as in
another world, lie across
from shore to shore. Yes, here
is where they will come, the dead,
when they rise from the grave.

III
White
dogwood flowers
afloat
in leafing woods
untrouble
my mind.

IV
Ask the world to reveal its quietude—
not the silence of machines when they are still,
but the true quiet by which birdsongs,
trees, bellows, snails, clouds, storms
become what they are, and are nothing else.

V
A mind that has confronted ruin for years
Is half or more a ruined mind. Nightmares
Inhabit it, and daily evidence
Of the clean country smeared for want of sense,
Of freedom slack and dull among the free,
Of faith subsumed in idiot luxury,
And beauty beggared in the marketplace
And clear-eyed wisdom bleary with dispraise.

VI
Sit and be still
until in the time
of no rain you hear
beneath the dry wind’s
commotion in the trees
the sound of flowing
water among the rocks,
a stream unheard before,
and you are where
breathing is prayer.

VII
The wind of the fall is here.
It is everywhere. It moves
every leaf of every
tree. It is the only motion
of the river. Green leaves
grow weary of their color.
Now evening too is in the air.
The bright hawks of the day
subside. The owls waken.
Small creatures die because
larger creatures are hungry.
How superior to this
human confusion of greed
and creed, blood and fire.

VIII
The question before me, now that I
am old, is not how to be dead,
which I know from enough practice,
but how to be alive, as these worn
hills still tell, and some paintings
of Paul Cezanne, and this mere
singing wren, who thinks he’s alive
forever, this instant, and may be.

Wendell Berry