Third Day

Dead shall rise

The widow’s steps slapped on the dusty path.
Her down-turned mouth had long forgot to laugh.
Her thoughts dolorous. Just another day
In which her heartache never fades away.
She carried some fresh flowers for her son –
To place upon the outside of his tomb.
It was a common spectacle, we fear:
So many children died each, every year.
He was her only son – her only child.
Her heart was broken. Still, her thoughts were mild.
She felt when others grieved. Yet blood and bone
Cut deeper when grim Death had claimed her own.
She visited the gravesite often when
It was near empty. It was quiet then.

The city was in tumult. She displayed
No interest. Although all her neighbours made
Much of some wondrous prophet named Jesu
This morning crucified. She hardly knew
The story. He was good, so many said.
She glanced at Golgotha: three living dead
Were nailed to crosses. That sight made her weep
Her sympathy. She prayed to God that sleep
Eternal would soon end their earthly pain
And that those crucified might quickly gain
Their just reward before the Judgement Seat.
Her prayer soon finished. Moving on with fleet
Unhurried steps she to the graveyard came –
But from that moment, nothing was the same:
Thick darkness fell. It was mid-afternoon!
How could unwonted midnight fall so soon?

The puzzled woman yet was unafraid.
The world looked strange. She slowed. The darkness made
The pathway vanish. She walked on by feel
Until she reached the tomb. The stone was real
Beneath her fingers. She’d know anywhere
These stones beneath her tender mother’s care
That covered her own son – a good young man.
She sat to wait – she had no other plan
But waiting there until the dark should lift.
Her thoughts recalled the past – across the rift
Of time and place to other happy days
On which she turned her inward looking gaze.

Then by surprise, the quake came suddenly
The earth beneath her groaned. She could not see.
So she remained atop the little grave.
She trembled – but remained. She would not save
Her life by flight – what was there to live for?
If God should will – she’ll die. Stones moving tore
Her own attention to a tomb nearby.
The stones were moving? Why, Jehovah, why?
The darkness faded back into daylight.
Her own eyes stared upon what met her sight:
Her son’s tomb broken! No! The quake destroyed
His tomb! The labour and expense employed –
Now this! There lie exposed his dear remains
In their grave-wrappings. But what power explains
What happens next? His corpse a-sudden moved!
Must be quake after-shocks. Yet it all proved
How strange today was. She reached out to touch
The corpse – but paused. The thought was just too much.
Her son was dead. Only this corpse remained.
But then it moved again! The corpse regained
Its feet and stood: its grave-clothes were undone
By zombie fingers of her undead son!

The mother stared – frozen. Her brain could not
Least comprehend. There rooted to the spot
She watched her son’s dead corpse. Her mother’s brain
Watched without seeing how he moved again
Standing to breath deeply the fresh, warm air.
Then it saw her. The corpse had left its lair
And now would – what? The two stared at each other.
Her son spoke one word softly, saying “Mother?”

The mother moved. She wailed. She grabbed her boy
Hugging him fiercely. Wailed aloud her joy!
Her son embraced her. He was now alive!
This could not be! It was! How so? To strive
And understand – she could not. Later on
She heard with loving ears each thing her son
Would relate to her:
“Mother, I was dead.
You knew this. Well, I heard a voice that said
To me – ‘Rise up! Death holds you never more!’
I rose to life! I’d heard that voice before –
You know the Prophet who from Galilee
Named Jesu? It was His voice. It was He
Who spoke command, and ordered me to rise.
And rose I did! I saw with spiritual eyes
This man – the Christ! Messiah! He who led
Me back to life.” When told Jesu was dead
New crucified, her son firmly averred
“Death cannot hold Him down. You mark my word –
Jesu will rise again just as I say.”

And that He did: He rose on the Third Day.