Saturday, June 09, 2012

The Final Enemy

High are the rocks of Shadow,
Deep is the cold, cold stream,
Weary the heart that wanders,
Silent the swallowed scream.

Time, that erodes our dreaming,
Wearing our comfort down.
Leads the resisting body
Down where our last hopes drown.

Eyes far too dry for crying.
Lips that grow tremble-weak,
Memory for our confusion,
Songs that no longer speak.

The vital flame of being
Burns down to bitter ash:
What was the use of loving
When it all turns to trash?

Dark is our mortal darkness,
Dark beyond human ken,
Falling into the silence,
Can there be life again?

See the hilltop stretching rocky,
Outside the provincial town;
While the crowd, with shock-turned faces,
See their midday sun go down.

See the tortured bodies hanging
Stark on sticks twixt earth and sky:
All creation holds its breathing,
For the Life of Life must die.

See the twisted thorns that crown him -
Adam’s curse upon his head.
See the darkness close upon him
As he hangs there in our stead.

See him crying out completion,
Yielding up his desperate breath.
See him locked in fatal conflict
Dying to o’erpower death

There is dust upon the centuries,
The long defeat of ages,
And to dust we shall return.
Fragile flesh that clothes us,
Evanescent mystery;
As we cling to the known
It slides from out our grasp.
What can contain us?
All our devisings,
All our bartering,
Our wildest efforts and our futile dreams,
Come to this one thing:
That we may live.

For the last enemy
Is death.

Here behold the glorious morning,
New creation’s primal day.
Now has come the long night’s ending,
Death itself is done away.

Now behold him, oh behold him!
He has overcome the tomb,
He has pierced the deepest chasm,
Burned across the deepest gloom.

Born a man as man to suffer,
Born a man as man to die:
Death itself he has defeated,
Death itself was turned awry.

Now behold him – risen, glorious!
Come back from that alien shore.
Now the final foe is vanquished
Death itself shall reign no more!

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