Risen, indeed


On Belief in the Physical Resurrection of Jesus*

It is for all

‘literalists of the imagination,’

poets or not,

that miracle

is possible,

possible and essential.

Are some intricate minds


on concept,

as epiphytes flourish

high in the canopy?

Can they

subsist on the light,

on the half

of metaphor that’s not

grounded in dust, grit,


carnal clay?

Do signs contain and utter,

for them

all the reality

that they need? Resurrection, for them,

an internal power, but not

a matter of flesh?

For the others,

of whom I am one,

miracles (ultimate need, bread

of life) are miracles just because

people so tuned

to the humdrum laws:

gravity, mortality –

can’t open

to symbol’s power

unless convinced of its ground,

its roots

in bone and blood.

We must feel

the pulse in the wound

to believe

that ‘with God

all things

are possible,’


bread at Emmaus

that warm hands

broke and blessed.

* Denise Levertov, Stream & Sapphire: Selected Poems on Religious Themes

(once again, WordPress refuses to allow the spacing I tried to recreate from Levertov’s book)

Image: “Two disciples at the tomb,” by Henry Ossawa Tanner

(Coincidentally, I used him at Christmas, too.  When I chose this image, I didn’t realize it was the same artist until I made out the signature at the bottom.  Cool.)


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