About Me

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I work as a teacher, poet and spiritual director at a number of institutions in the DC area. My teaching focuses in various ways on writing, poetry, Spirituality and Christian vocation and ministry - especially from the point of view of the laity. I also offer classes and retreats encouraging people to explore their inner lives, engage their creativity and reflect on their beliefs about God, vocation, and how we can discern and pursue new ways to transform our broken world. I enjoy speaking of faith in the secular academy as well as reminding those preparing for ministry in the Church that our primary purpose is to love and serve the world beyond the church's doors. I love helping people to grow in faith and to find their own voices, and I also love encouraging them to use their minds. I see no contradiction between these impulses, believing as I do that faith, reason and creativity work together.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Easter Poems

Here are three poems that I think of as the "Easter sequence" from Annunciations: Poems out of Scripture by Kathleen Henderson Staudt (Edwin Mellen Press, 2003). Each one has an epigraph from the Easter story told in the gospel of John

*

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? " She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him."
John 20: 11-13

*

Mary Magdalene at the Tomb

The empty tomb
A vision of angels
But he is not here.
There is no one to ask:
Where have they laid him?
Where is he now?

The men who came with me have believed and gone away
Remembering his words.
The empty tomb
Enough for them.
They think they understand, have heard and seen
A vision of angels
But he is not here.
I came to touch, anoint with tears, one last time;
There is no one to ask:
Have you seen my Beloved?
Where have they laid him?
Where is he now?

What could console me?
Even if I saw,
in the empy tomb
A vision of angels,
They only show me what already I know:
He is not here.
There is no one to ask:
Have you seen my Beloved?
Who can tell me?
Where have they laid him?
Where is he now?




*


Saying this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?" Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away." Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, "Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father;
John 20:14-17

*

The Embrace in the Garden

How can you say, "Don't try to hold me?"

Wrenched from my weeping
Into your unreasonable joy
I heard you speak my name
Knew it was you
You, and more than you, more than I can grasp

But now, my cheek against your cheek,
Your hand stroking my hair,
I whisper the name I have always used for you
Rabboni!
Mary!
Rabboni!

You whisper, delighted, of going and telling
But how could I not want to hold you here
Cheek against cheek,
Nail-scarred hands upon hair?







*

Jesus said to her, "Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, "I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God."
Mary Magdalene went and said to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"; and she told them that he had said these things to her.
John 20:17

*

Going and Telling


Go. Tell my friends. I am giving you the words. Tell them.
All is accomplished. The new story has begun.
The body that holds you now
Alive and warm, is as real
As the body you saw mutilated,
Mocked, betrayed, brutalized.

Even though jeers drowned out the message
Of justice for the poor,
Release for the oppressed,
Unimagined forbearance,
Even though
It seems as though the promise I brought
Was pounded down
With the nails
They drove into these hands
Go and tell them:
They cannot kill it.

Step back. Take these wounded hands.
Clasp them in your own.
Gaze back at me, and see
The dancing in my eyes.
Now go.
Go and tell them
This life you are holding
Nothing can kill it.
Go. Go and tell them
You will see me
Again.

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