All That Was Needed (For Mary and Martha of Bethany)

Tomorrow is the day the Anglican calendar remembers Mary and Martha, the sisters in Bethany who were close friends of Jesus. But tomorrow is a Sunday so I will have another poem to write then, so they can have their poem today.

All That Was Needed

The hired wailers were doing their work
and though I thought I should be in
the kitchen making food for the guests,
my heart kept me waiting there
by the tomb of our dead brother.

My sister greeted you when you came;
she ran into your arms and said,
Lord, if you had have been here
my brother would not have died.
I thought the same, but I stayed still.

And in the kitchen the dishes stacked up
and food scraps rotted, while inside
the tomb our brother Lazarus, dead,
waited for the day when he
would rise with all the righteous.

You came to me beside the tomb;
Lord, I said, as my sister had done,
if you had have been here – if; what ifs! –
my brother would surely not have died.
But you stood there and silently cried.

The hired wailers did their work;
my soul fell out upon the ground.
And though I thought to pick it up
your weeping eyes told me that I
should leave it lying at your feet.

And by the tomb the righteous one
stood at the mouth and called out loud,
Lazarus, come out of your tomb!
My brother from inside rose up;
my soul saw its new life.

Your feet were still wet-soaked with tears;
my sister’s hair was soaking too.
But on the ground, around your feet,
where Lazarus’ risen feet stepped
were the dewdrops of the new morning.

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