(for Susan, Liz, Steve and Phil)
Reverberations, motions of spirit—
only monks or mystics are attentive.
Beneath the comicalities, the curt court,
the rancor of death-head judges—
go deep, deeper.
Soul stirs like the faint flutter
of Lazarus’ fingers’ start
—the merest intent of birth—
to lift the gauzy shroud from face.
(Caravaggio, that volatile genius—but
Christ thought of it first)—
Lazarus longs to breathe.
He clutches thin air,
though a moment ago, thought of breath
stacked back to back, all odds
Now face to face.
And ourselves stirred, who a moment past
dared not imagine
—shall we risk it?—the Real Thing.
Daniel Berrigan, Jesuit priest and author of more than fifty books of poetry and prose, has been deeply involved in the peace movement worldwide. Through his teaching, preaching, writing, and personal example, he has mentored three generations of men and women committed to peace and justice. His The Raft is Not the Shore: Conversations Toward a Buddhist/Christian Awareness was published by Orbis Books in December 2000. (2001)