In the Office: It Was on the Saturday

CLC-HW-DAY6It was on the Saturday
that he was not there.

Those who don’t like corpses
can’t stay away from graveyards,
unless there’s some prohibition to stop them
revisiting the dead end
of their hopes and their dreams.

It’s as if they think
that should the voice speak again,
it will speak there
or a sunbeam will dance
or a flower will shoot
and give a sign of misinterpreted life.

But close the cemetery,
or confine, through custom or constraint,
the wailing ones to the house
and it looms larger…
the loss,
the lostness,
the losers.

Men shiver in an upstairs room,
warm though the day is.
Women weep in an uncharmed circle.

Memory is forced on memory.
The mind’s eye tries to trace
the profile and the face,
the smile,
the gentle twitching of the nose…
and fails.
And a panic sets in
because it seems he can’t be remembered.
Was he ever known?

It was on a Saturday
that he was not there.

For Holy Week, I’m sharing a series of poems that come from Stages on the Way, a book of worship resources for the Easter season prepared by the Iona Community, a Christian ecumenical community headquartered in Scotland and devoted to peace and social justice.

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