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Climb Out On Easter Sunday

“If I take the wings of the morning,
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea….”
— Psalm 139

We rise in a banking curve of morning’s pure velocity
over fallow fields and grids of neighborhoods,
over ponds painted with slick scum oozing
— from the oil pans of countless sunken cars,
— from punctured sacks of toxic trash,
— from fleshless graves of abandoned murders,
of missing persons filed in muck.

We rise embraced by first-class armchairs,
pondering the crisply printed histories
of yesterday’s most meaningless events.
We rise up above our lives and lies,
above, alone, away, alas, good-bye
to families and to friends, to all terrestrial ties.
Our very cellulars, by strict law silenced
so that our murmurs not disturb
the delicate electronics on which so much
at this tremulous moment depends
that we dare not think on it, and so select
music of our choice from mid-heaven’s jukebox.

We rise in the faltering dark
into the pale flicker of a cosseted sun
slatted in flashes through fingers of cloud,
up into the white blood of the sinewed sky,
and so our day and world slips by.

We rise up to where all breath is snow,
so far that all above becomes below,
up until the sky is seen as vapor,
smeared white on blue construction paper
and framed by dark remorseless space.

We rise up until from Earth we seem
only a fading gesture, some echoed trace
of fog, distinguished only by our direction,
out over arid ancient seas, past all reflection.

And still we rise, our lush ascent
powered by ageless diatoms’ descent
into the ooze between the fossiled stones,
the shattered crypts of shells and bones;
above the planned sere autumn fields
of pasture, silage, grain that yields
the bread we break in this, our floating world.

And still we rise, resurrected,
through the thinning strands of sky reflected,
until the edge of day the stars deny,
where all the worlds we knew slip by,
tangled in a mapless maze of rivers,
our passing but a whisper that shivers
the dream of a drowsing owl, a silver splinter
caught in a facet of the eye of winter,
and, unremarked or written, quickly glides
beyond the reach of records or of guides.

We rise until at last held still
in that blue hand which grasps all sky,
awake within our tube of paper steel,
our long ascent levels and we slide
onto a gleaming lake of granite ink,
reflecting now the empty gaze of God,
beyond warm hands and done with Earth.

Never now to stagger or to slip
back into the shadows and the rain,
back into the warm musk of the day,
but, keen as an iron blade
touched to the tongue,
we sail forever on these slate seas
out to the far edge of imagine,
and on, and still on beyond,
into the heart of the stars,
into the silence of their song.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Snakepit Kansas April 1, 2018, 4:55 AM

    He is risen! Happy Easter all.

  • Uncle Mikey April 2, 2018, 5:36 AM


  • SteveS April 3, 2018, 8:26 PM

    Reading this has become an Easter tradition for me. It couldn’t be more moving.
    Thank you.

  • ghostsniper April 21, 2019, 4:42 AM

    On a commercial plane?
    Unlikely. Ever.

  • captflee April 21, 2019, 6:35 AM

    What Steve S said.

    He is indeed risen. Happy Easter, y’all!

  • Hangtown Bob April 21, 2019, 6:38 AM

    Beautiful and especially meaningful this Easter morning……

    A trip we shall all take in our future…….

    Thank you, Gerard

  • Richard April 21, 2019, 7:07 AM

    Just returned from Mass. Church perfumed with the sublime smell of Easter flowers. After a Lenten hiatus the Alleluia! sung again. Death defeated. Sins expiated. Happy and blessed Easter to all!

  • jwm April 21, 2019, 8:18 AM

    This is my favorite piece here on American Digest. After dozens of readings it still give me a shiver, and a lump in my throat. Every year I link it on my facebarf page, and implore my friends to have a look. I wonder if any of them do…
    A blessed Easter to you, Gerard, and to all the gang here.


  • JiminAlaska April 21, 2019, 9:27 AM

    Now’s good.

  • Terry April 21, 2019, 9:51 AM

    Very nice to read that again. Thank you Gerard.

  • Jeff Brokaw April 21, 2019, 1:27 PM

    Happy Easter to you Gerard and to all your readers.

  • AesopFan April 23, 2019, 8:07 AM

    My first time to read this paean in verse.
    Thank you.

  • Susan April 12, 2020, 7:30 AM

    Happy Easter Renewal!

  • Anne April 12, 2020, 9:24 AM

    Happy Easter !!
    This is a very special piece. Please post who the author is, or the source.
    Thank you

  • Terry April 12, 2020, 9:35 AM

    This Easter Sunday is different for me. Seems more meaningful than past Easter Sunday’s.

    Maybe it is the Sunday sermons now being broadcast over the local AM radio station in this town of 3000 souls. Every denomination gets an hour of broadcast time. Churches closed down by tyrant governor.

    Happy Easter to All

  • captflee April 12, 2020, 10:43 AM

    Though princes and potentates may shutter buildings, they can never close the true church, the one in our hearts and in our minds. My best wishes this Easter to the proprietor, and to the AD family in these times of worry and vexation.

  • Vanderleun April 12, 2020, 11:38 AM

    Thank you Anne and thank you all others.

    As it happens I wrote this.

  • Charlie M April 12, 2020, 12:26 PM

    It Is Finished…

  • Kurt Miller April 12, 2020, 1:19 PM

    Why do you look for the living among the dead?
    He is risen,
    Just as He said…


  • Anne April 4, 2021, 8:35 AM

    I saw something lovely last night. Game night. The BIG game. I saw beautiful young men treat each other in the spirit of true sharing brotherhood. For so many years their team–their school–had tried to come to this point in the competition. Two men stand out in my mind from last night’s 53 minutes of play time.

    One is the quiet young man–never demonstrating–never proclaiming his skill in any visible gestures of self glory, as young man tend to do. The quiet young man, who in the last second before the end of the permitted time, threw that magnificent ball so far–so perfectly–so beautifully . That young man finally did show off just a little bit–he jumped on a table and raised his arms in victory. Then dropped them down into a small gesture of true self. Standing on that podium his thumb and forefingers began to fidget with the fabric of his shorts. A small tell–one that revealed the true nature that humble soul. He was then seen not hugging the coach, but rather his old father in an embrace that lasted so long . .

    The other man of last night has been a hero here in our house for quite a few years. A great basketball coach. A great teacher of young men. A coach, who over the years, has brought his team close to the final competition–always to loose before the final round. A great man who has rejected many offers to work somewhere else for more money, more benefits, more worldly things. This man stayed, and stayed, and stayed, with the small little Christian school in out–of–the–way Spokane. Last night he watched his boys be kind to each other. He watched as they worked together in the most gracious win ever witnessed in the game of College Basketball. We watched grace on those boards last night. In a unusual setting we watched a resurrection of another sort. The spirit of good gamesmanship. The renewal of the ideal way to raise up young men. Put me in coach.

  • Randall R Bridges April 4, 2021, 10:01 AM

    Vanderleun, Excellent! Happy Easter to the brethren of Jesus, who was the firstborn of many.

  • Vanderleun April 4, 2021, 2:24 PM

    Oh how wonderful. Put me in too, Coach.

  • Denny April 17, 2022, 4:50 AM

    Wonder of All

    We hear the falling iron chains
    When you set your children loose
    And you’ve sealed death’s ghastly tomb
    With granite truth on truth

    With humble divine power
    You laid your flesh in pain
    To give a bloody birth to us
    And you would do it all again

    But we still can’t understand
    Your perfect grave of grace
    And amazing in with all the stars
    Your love that takes our place

    Oh faithful God of all
    In our twilight book of sin
    You conquered with your innocence
    All true freedom loving men

    We struggle in this evil world
    With eyes in tears we sing
    Oh just to gaze the peaceful waters
    Of our returning King

    He is risen


  • Dirk April 17, 2022, 10:08 AM

    Happy Easter. Just returned from church. Curious message from the preacher, “Do We believe Jesus was resurrected from his tomb”. I understand he wasn’t questioning or beliefs, but punching those whom question, in the nose.

    Of course Jesus was resurrected. I’m amazed at how many of my fellow police officers have reached out, for guidance and strength in these time. Seemed like 1/2 present were F-15 drivers,,,,and family, the other 1/2 were police and their families. , I’ve never experienced this many of either at church.

    Asking my favorite question,,,,,,, Why?

  • your faithful serpent April 17, 2022, 11:15 PM

    exquisite sibilance, intensely felt, thank goodness