Luke 23:55,56 by Heidi Zartman

‘The women who had come with him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how his body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.’ (Luke 23:55,56)

How sweet, but bittersweet — before the dawn
Of the first day, to have rested
With God while His body lay in
Joseph’s tomb. As earth’s last Sabbath crested

Over Friday’s light, they had prepared their
Spices and their ointments for the
Burial — then wrought with despair,
That tense pause while He slept so tranquilly.

Since time began they had observed the rest
Of God. Now it lay all around
Them, as His Sabbath coalesced
With ours concretely. But how profound

His was — how disturbed, shattered, anxious must
Have been the women’s — til they wished
To wake Him as we waked Him once
On Galilee: ‘Carest thou not we perish?’

So little could they understand how sweet
And singular a thing occurs
When God’s respite comes, replete
To this convergence — for He rested with us

Perfectly. His labor had been finished:
He had only to fulfil our
Sabbath til our night diminished,
And He rose to wake His troubled sleepers.

by Heidi Zartman

Isaiah 11:8 by Heidi Zartman

‘The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.’ (Isaiah 11:8)

Now on my wall, a child gathers gold leaves
Quietly over buried Salem —
Bending where someone grieved,
Unconscious of that history —
Of her strange newness in old pain —
Of someone’s memory gathering her from the debris
Of gravestone, earth’s manifold vein
Of hope.

The graveyard, so I read, is haunted by a witches’ ghost,
Witnessed in images.
And on my wall the spirit of an innocence
Kneels artlessly,
Head bowed, in modern clothes,
Oblivious of her phantom nature
In their centuries —
Gathering from their fall a vivid shape,
Unaware of hers.

by Heidi Zartman

Jamie by S. Dryden Phelps (1860)

sdryden(this poem was written by Phelps’ while he was in Egypt and he found out that his young son died back home, and also realized that on the very day of his funeral, he unknowingly preached a sermon on “God shall wipe away all tears”)

On Egypt’s far famed River, wondrous Nile!
Where many a Pyramid sublime appears,
Crowned with the glory of three thousand years,
While Time still fails to waste each mountain pile,
We sail where Pharaoh’s place rose so fair,
And MOSES was concealed and found in fears,
The Sabbath comes; our boat’s a place of prayer;

My text: “And God shall wipe away all tears.”
We wept. That day my darling boy at home,
Too bright and beautiful for earth and sin,
From midst my weeping flock, GOD’S house within,
Was borne, in form so lovely, to the tomb.
I heard at length— Oh JAMIE! full of charms
How could I give thee up, save into JESUS’ arms!

by S. Dryden Phelps (1860)

The Quidditie by George Herbert

220px-George_HerbertMY God, a verse is not a crown,
No point of honour, or gay suit,
No hawk, or banquet, or renown,
Nor a good sword, nor yet a lute:

It cannot vault, or dance, or play;
It never was in France or Spain;
Nor can it entertain the day
With my great stable or demain:

It is no office, art, or news,
Nor the Exchange, or busie Hall;
But it is that which while I use
I am with thee, and Most take all.

Recollections of Childhood by S. Dryden Phelps (1842)

How blest the glad hours that were spent in my childhood,
While roaming with joy in the warm summer air,
By the mead, and the fountain, the hillock, and wild-wood,sdryden
When youthful companions attended me there.

The scenes of my childhood I fondly remember,
When summer, and winter, and day after day,
We hasted to school, ‘mid the winds of December,
Or rambled among the wild flowerets of May.

How cheerful the evenings when sitting together,
With brothers, and sisters, and parents so dear–
We told pleasing tales while the cold wintry weather
Beat loud on the windows, and snow filled the air.

How oft, when alone, I recall recollections
Of happier scenes in my earliest day–
Of social enjoyments with friends and connexions,
Now sleeping in silence, or far, far away.

Those sweet sunny seasons, oh, who will restore me?
Alas, for their absence–they ne’er will return:
Though long since departed, they seem still before me,
And yet shall remain in fond Memory’s urn.

by S. Dryden Phelps (1842)

Easter by George Herbert (1633)

RIse heart; thy Lord is risen.  Sing his praise
                                Without delayes,
Who takes thee by the hand, that thou likewise
                                With him mayst rise:
That, as his death calcined thee to dust,
His life may make thee gold, and much more, just.

Awake, my lute, and struggle for thy part
                                With all thy art.
The crosse taught all wood to resound his name,
                                Who bore the same.
His stretched sinews taught all strings, what key
Is best to celebrate this most high day.

Consort both heart and lute, and twist a song
                                Pleasant and long:
Or, since all musick is but three parts vied
                                 And multiplied,
O let thy blessed Spirit bear a part,
And make up our defects with his sweet art.

I got me flowers to straw thy way;
I got me boughs off many a tree:
But thou wast up by break of day,
And brought’st thy sweets along with thee.

The Sunne arising in the East,
Though he give light, & th’ East perfume;
If they should offer to contest
With thy arising, they presume.

Can there be any day but this,
Though many sunnes to shine endeavour?
We count three hundred, but we misse:
There is but one, and that one ever.