In recent months I have often mentioned the growing importance of poetry in my life. As we come to Good Friday and Easter, I have been enjoying some of the devotional poetry of days gone by, and was especially struck by Hannah Flagg Gould’s “To the Mourner.” It does not deal with Easter per se, but with the wonderful consequences of Easter, for if Christ rose, so shall those who have died in him. Here is her reflection on the resurrection of Jesus and the death of a friend.
We would not check the starting tear,
Nor bid thee cease to mourn
The friend thy bosom held most dear
So early from thee torn;
For, when in death a loved one slept,
Among the sorrowing, “Jesus wept!”
But has not Jesus passed the tomb,
To break its bars away?
And, darting through its fearful gloom
The beams of endless day,
Does he not, from the other side,
Bid none to fear, since he has died.
And, mourner, will not sighing cease,
When thou canst look above,
And feel that, from a world of peace,
Thou hast an angel’s love?
That she is safe, where none may fear
Death, pain, or change that wound us here?
When he, who wept at human wo,
Shall in the clouds appear,
Awaking millions then shall know,
To those who owned him here,
He is the resurrection!—he,
Life, light and immortality!