for Susan, Liz, Steve and Phil
Reverberations, motions of spirit—
_ _only monks or mystics are attentive.
_ _ Beneath the comicalities, the curt court,
_ _ the rancor of death-head judges—
_ _ go deep, deeper.
_ _ Soul stirs like the faint flutter
_ _of Lazarus’ fingers’ start
_ _ —the merest intent of birth—
to lift the gauzy shroud from face.
_ _ (Caravaggio, that volatile genius—but
_ _ Christ thought of it first)—
_ _Lazarus longs to breathe. He clutches thin air,
_ _ though a moment ago, thought of breath
_ _ slept forever,
_ _dead bones
_ _ stacked back to back, all odds
_ _against life.
_ _ Now face to face.
_ _And ourselves stirred, who a moment past
_ _dared not imagine
_ _ —shall we risk it?—the Real Thing.
Daniel Berrigan is a Jesuit priest and author of more than fifty books of poetry and prose. He is deeply involved in the global peace movement and a contributing editor of Sojourners, a Christian social justice magazine. (updated 6/2010)
“A Conversation with Daniel Berrigan” by Mark Wagner appeared in AGNI 43.