A Happy Easter holiday to all who follow this blog!

Belief that a man rose from death doesn’t come easily. In the poem that follows I try to chart my own spiritual journey to the place that is Easter.

A Doubter’s Creed

Why did I come here?
What did I expect to see?
They said I’d meet a keen-eyed king
Come to redeem his people
After all the years of prophecy & promise.
Instead I saw an infant in an ass’s stall
And cows lowing piteously over a starlit manger
Where yet there was no grain,
No corn, no sweet green summer grass,
But only a weeping newborn boy
And his quiet mother in a dusty cloak,

Her womb suddenly empty of her child.

Why did I come here?
What did I expect to see?
They said I’d greet a loyal lord
Riding in triumph over festal palms
Where massing crowds would bay for him.
Instead I saw a broken hillside
Naked as a dead man’s skull; soldiers dicing
And three men crucified, one bloodied
With a crown of thorns. ‘Jesu, King of the Jews,’
The mocking sign above him read.
And, later, a cave-pocked place they called

His tomb—suddenly empty of his body.

Why did I come here?
What did I expect to see?
They said I’d hail a ravening ruler
With resolute arm upraised in battle:
With two-edged sword to smite them left & right.
Instead they led me to a back-street house
Where cowering men & weary women
Met secretly for breaking bread,
For dipping bitter herbs & sharing wine;
And where that quiet woman sat with them,
Woebegone, still in her pilgrim cloak,

The room suddenly empty of the man they loved.

So why did I come here?
What did I expect to see?
They said I’d see the kingdom come.
I see no cunning kings.
I see no lordly leaders.
I see no raging rulers.
Instead I hear a voice that bids me
Put my hand into his side
And touch the nail-wounds in his bloody palms.
He lives! this Son of Man.
He lives! the King of Heaven.

Filled suddenly with grace, I cry, ‘My Lord. My God!’

© Lizzie Ballagher

2015-04-05 11.38.58

 

Submerged

I am floundering under

water
shoals of deep-down fear
rising subterranean nightmares
the weightiness of endless work
books & the reading of many books
papers & the writing of many leaden papers:
the gravity of muddles

but I am drowning, too, in

slabs of buttered sunlight
lark-flights of soaring joy
the mood & magic of wild dreams
waves of unexpected, bright imaginings
the unrolling of a spool of story like a silken thread stretching & spinning from my mind
the blossoming of poems in my head:
creation turning chaos into craft

that springs up like a sapling birch-tree
under beaming logs of light &
under western rains where still I may
follow gleaming unnamed paths
into the untamed
wilderness  &
lose myself:

submerged.

2014-01-19 14.22.30