First Born from the Dead

The cloth which yesterday so reverently kept
our Lord’s head, is today lying by itself;
the shroud appears like the bed where he has slept,
pillow face cloth arranged on the rock shelf.

The tomb is ordered, the Paschal setting
is not a wild off-planet getaway:
the presence who has folded the netting
has artfully followed the Passion Play.

Easter’s presence/absence on limestone set
covered in the linen weave of white cloth,
powerful mystery in quietest calm yet:
Life bursts from silent Yahweh Sabaoth.

The folded cloth, the ordered tomb resound.
The living Jesus in measured singing found.

  • John 20:1-14

Image: Yale University (Brahms: Capriccio)



Were Scattered in Sin

They lie as they fell in the heat of battle,
bones and dried gore and hate’s bloody shame.
Now noise overwhelms like a machine-gun rattle,
A whisper above breathes our God’s veiled name.

They find their own body part, who knows how,
and sinews join them and swaddles with skin,
the quiet wind above whispers its vow,
and new life covers the earlier sin.

Evil army they were before they were killed,
Now they arise a non-violent array,
God’s Dominion of love is theirs to rebuild,
Fruits of kindness and joy now on display.

Across our bony fractures the breath quivers,
Today Christ’s glory in now-loved limbs shivers.


  • Ezekiel 37:1-14
  • Romans 8:6-11
  • Lent V (Year A)

Ted Witham 2017

Photo courtesy King’s College, Cambridge