Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Signs of spring

Bradford pear tree in bloom.
Lent is a sleeping spring
in the earth:
the seeding and quickening,
from the sown red seed
of the Lord of Love,
to the season of trees in bud
and the white flower on the thorn.

It is not easy to see
the Eternal arms,
wide to the world-embrace
in the little reach
of man's capacity.
It is not easy to see
Christ crucified
in the human race
when death is commonplace.

Long ago
men carved the crucifix
from the wood of flowering trees--
rosewood, and pearwood, and lime,
and pine, and chestnut,
and walnut and sycamore.
On Easter morning,
Christ unwinds the burial bands
and lays them by:
the balm and the spikenard,
the anointing of tears,
the soundless snow
of the white sleep of death,
the body of Christ lays by.

He sets his feet on the dust.
He extends his open hands
with a supreme gesture of love.
He uncovers his heart.

man is listening
for the first footsteps
of the risen Christ.

He hears
an unseen bird singing
and leaves opening
one by one
in a multitudinous green solitude.

Caryll Houselander, "Holy Saturday"

Daffodils in the monastery rock garden.

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