One Morning of Each Year

Sunrise, and I’m up and watching
golden rockets break apart the clouds; the luster
of the early Sabbath sky; stars, fleeing the glory
of the Easter sun.
I hear the songs, the choirs to heaven
sending praises, and the reply of angels.
Aye, they rejoice with us—heaven and earth
in one bright bond.
The birds in chorus blend
as dew drips slowly from each leaf
to water earth once more;
And my mind reflects again, as past,
one morning of each year, an old familiar
tune that’s often sung;
But—on this day, it grips my heart
and tugs it so to let the words slip
past my trembling lips, to say,
in thanks,
I know that my Redeemer lives, what comfort …
In tears my voice gives way,
and I can only gaze into the sky
through which he rose and listen
more intently to the songs,
and know he lives!

Spring Fever

It’s hard to keep spring
Out of mind and feeling.
Get back to your work, thoughts!
Don’t go reeling
This way and that
From one delight to another.
Each crocus will keep;
The good earth mother
Will bring forth more beauties
As days go by.
You can’t know them all,
So don’t try.
Get back to your work, thoughts.
Go back—yes, but oh—
How can spring wear
Such a misty glow?

Grunewald’s Crucifixion

A crucifixion is an awesome thing:
Vast rolls of canvas, torrents of paint,
The stroke of a master’s brush
Cannot make a man die gracefully.
Two thousand years, ten thousand miles,
A Rembrandt or a Rubens—none can make
Glory out of pain.
No man dies easy spiked to a cross,
His life and marrow throbbing out through
White-hot steel, and not enough breath
In God’s universe to satisfy his heaving breast.
But Grunewald is not for all times.
And in this time of triumph, we have no taste
To judge the master stroke.

Starting Now

Patience, eyes!
Look with kindness
On the struggling child
And the dangling shoelace.
Patience, hands!
Don’t help small fingers
Clasped to the sticky
Stirring spoon in lumpy batter.
Direct things from a distance,
With a soft voice;
And growth’s desire
Will tie the shoe,
Smooth the lumps,
And take on greater adversaries.