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Poem of the Week: “Lazarus Risen” by Peter Sirr

"Lazarus Risen" by Peter Sirr

Rich with imagery of death and burial, Peter Sirr’s “Lazarus Risen” reveals the simultaneous wonder and horror of a return from the grave.

Lazarus Risen

Lumbering out into the hectic light
like some dishevelled beast, I found myself
notorious, and would have turned back
but that cool and candid gaze unstitched
my shroud till it fell in shreds about me
and I walked among my weeping, bewildered kin.

Now their houses fall silent when I enter,
whey-faced and hesitant. For miles around
kids run howling home at the sound of my name
and when I pass even the trees look askance.
Sustained by a miracle, like flowers in a vase
my astonishing life continues in parenthesis.

Daily, strangers beat on my door.
How should I expect them to understand
my need for darkened rooms and blankets?
I still remember
Barabbas, drunk, circling the cross as blood
issued like a parable no one understood.

When they buried him I hid and waited
and saw his ragged body bleach the stones
and vanish. My arms hung like questions in the air.
They say my wits disdained that brusque choir
and smile at the familiar idiocy
that drives me now to watch in the evenings

the unearthly procession of light
from the grey loaves of the cemetery.
I think of silences broken only
by flesh loosening, the dry applause of bones,
while with growing confidence the spiky stars
transmit their small, post-dated fires.

Peter Sirr, from Selected Poems (2005)

Categories: Peter Sirr, Poem of the WeekTags: ,

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