Easter poems

Good Friday
fish dinner

with an
elderly aunt

of the cross

at her
local church

a glimpse
of sea view

afternoon tea
& a few hymns

her shoulder to my
knocking shoulder

her arm through
the crook of mine

–Rory Harris

The Risen Christ
In Rembrandt's painting, the risen Christ
wears a jaunty hat, carries
a dainty spade, and wears a scabbard
in his belt. The spade, I guess,
was for digging out the stone
that trapped him in his now un-needed tomb,
the scabbard, and the knife within, for dealing with
grave-robbers shocked and disappointed
to find their helpless victim up and about.
But the hat: that seems too ostentatious,
too vain for a saviour and son of God.
This was before the news of U.V. rays, so sun-protection
could not be the cause. Why then?
Even if hat-wearing signalled his devotion
as a pious Jew, why such a hat? So roguish!
So impious! Impish, even!

He has come to greet his girlfriend
(well, so the stories go) Mary
Magdalene. He has crept up on her
in the midst of her unending grief,
praying, it seems, to two young angels
perched at the top of the stone steps.
Now I see! She has come to tend his lonely
broken body, only to find a pair of angels
sprawled at the mouth of the opened tomb,
placed there, one supposes, in token
of the miracle that's occurred. Then Jesus,
approaching Mary from behind, surprises her
with a voice she recognises, but feared
she'd never hear again. Her face is a mask
of wonder, uncomprehending. But what
surprises me is how unprepared, how dazzled
Christ appears, his eyebrows raised in stunned
amazement, as though he never imagined
she would return once more with gifts
to leave at his grave; as though he did not know
that she had loved him so, did not believe
that she believed in him. How human
he seems then, to be surprised
by love, not to expect devotion.
Was that what Rembrandt hoped,
that with a touch of paint he might
construe the risen, transformed Christ
as still wholly a man; and the world, even after
all that had happened, the suffering,
humiliation and betrayal, still an inexhaustible well
of mysteries, of unexpected hope?

–Jeff Klooger

God of small things
I take the bread
made small
— a body broken

a scattering of crumbs
— some
no bigger than
a mustard seed

–Janette Fernando

Rory HarrisRory Harris won the 2008 Satura Prze, he teaches at Christian Brothers College, Wakefield Street Adelaide.

Jeff KloogerJeff Klooger's work has appeared in a number of Australian literary journals including Meanjin, Overland, Cordite Poetry Review and Retort. He has a PhD in philosophy and social theory from La Trobe University.

Janette FernandoJanette Fernando is a casual relief teacher, poet and editor. Her collection Two Edged was short-listed for the Australian Christian Book of the Year Awards in 2005. Since 2007 she has been Managing Editor of Poetica Christi Press.

Topic tags: Easter poems by Jeff Klooger, Rory Harris and Janette Fernando



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Existing comments

I like the poems, though I consider Jeff's a bit wonky on the nature of Christ risen.
Keep writing - Christianity needs good artists.
John | 07 April 2009

I too liked the poems. I didn't consider Jeff's wonky on the nature of Christ risen. I don't think it matters if you agree with it (Jeff's poem, in its entirety!) or not, it is just another way of coming at the enduring mystery of the resurrection of Jesus. And is so doing, it opens up a gentle avenue of reflection, an invitation...to all three poets, I say: more power to your pens!
Cameron Johns | 07 April 2009

Thanks for your comments John and Cameron. Just to clarify: my poem is, of course, an interpretation of a painting by Rembrandt which itself suggested things to me about the nature of the risen Christ, things that people are free to agree or disagree with.
Jeff Klooger | 08 April 2009


For any birth at all
there's sweat and tears:
to bear a good idea is no exception:
it struggles through the mire
to seize the air,
its light will surface and endure
the dark storms
of illusion and deception. . .

A worthwhile word
is tested from conception:
it thrives on struggle,
so values its existence:
it stands, long after
flasher lights have faded,
assumes a stature, strength
from its persistence . . .

The Word was planted
in a weedy garden:
the bloom was costly,
no less than a dying;
but what a life has burgeoned
for the listener,
what nourishment for hearts
who dare receive it!
John | 08 April 2009


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