THE DAUGHTER OF JAIRUS
She is such a gift to us this pallid unnamed child under the linen sheet
who has just lost her battle for life!
And what of Jesus, the young prophet who brought hope in
precedents of other healings?
Well, it seems he delayed in order to listen to another desperate voice
and has come too late.
He nevertheless insists on entering the chamber
with her weeping parents and his three silent friends.
Someone has laid the small pale hands ceremoniously on the outer bed-cover
and as her circulation shuts clown the delicate nails are touched
by the mendacious beauty of pale wood-violets in a false spring.
Perhaps the curved shadow of lashes on the cheek moves him to speculate
on eyes he has never seen and which already grow dim.
Only the escaping curl of hair lightened and brightened
by hours of play under the Palestinian sun appears untouched by death.
He watches her stillness, tempted beyond his compassionate humanity
to call on his divinity.
He takes the limp hand and the tell-tale nails flush to the prophetic tint
of the first wild hedge rose which always takes us by surprise. He speaks,
(What series of inspired scribes left these words in the ancient resonant tongue with
overtones translated only by the heart so that tenderness rises for ever
from the written page like the perfume of his breathing?)
Now the white sheet rises and falls once more and the translucent eyelids flutter.
Unaware that all creation has paused she opens her eyes and gazes at the face
which she does not know and yet has known always.
Still holding his hand she slips from the bed and is gathered to the arms of her parents.
“Why are you weeping she asks?” I have slept deeply and now feel perfectly well.”
They embrace her and smile knowing, that for her, full realization will take time.
But what of the young prophet? Will he remember this moment as he also
stirs to new life in the dark loneliness of a borrowed tomb?
And in the near future will the child, though carefully shielded
pick up the cruel word “crucifixion”
And the consoling name of “Mary of Magdala,”
who spoke with him in a garden of sunrise and dawn chorus?
And will the little girl smile secretly, knowing that he also is finally safe?
Patricia Bolton rsm Easter 2012