Sunday, April 08, 2012

Seven Stanzas at Easter

I thought that I had posted this last Easter, but I couldn’t find it on the blog to link to.  Maybe I never actually did in all my post-partum-peter stuff.

Either way, it’s one I read each Easter. One that neither my dad nor I can get through without tearing up (we just discovered that we share the same tearing up while we’re reading things out loud gene).

It’s all real. 

Read it a few times. Then read it aloud to someone and see if you don’t tear up.


Seven Stanzas at Easter

John Updike

Make no mistake: if he rose at all
It was as His body;
If the cell’s dissolution did not reverse, the molecule reknit,
The amino acids rekindle,
The Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers,
Each soft spring recurrent;
It was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled eyes of the
Eleven apostles;
It was as His flesh; ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes
The same valved heart
That-pierced-died, withered, paused, and then regathered
Out of enduring Might
New strength to enclose.

Let us not mock God with metaphor,
Analogy, sidestepping, transcendence,
Making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the faded
Credulity of earlier ages:
Let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not papier-mache,
Not a stone in a story,
But the vast rock of materiality that in the slow grinding of
Time will eclipse for each of us
The wide light of day.

And if we have an angel at the tomb,
Make it a real angel,
Weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair, opaque in
The dawn light, robed in real linen
Spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
For our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
Lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are embarrassed
By the miracle,
And crushed by remonstrance.


  1. I love beautiful poetry. So many wonderful phrases. I love that middle stanza--"let us not mock God with metaphor . . ."

  2. What beauty! I love his way of making Christ seem real just as thinking of the linen robe on an Angel, spun on a definite loom makes us feel that Christ is etherial but also tangible. So much to think about! Thanks for sharing! A tear on Easter is good!

  3. I've never read this before - thank you so much for sharing!



Related Posts with Thumbnails