“Breaking Day”

The morning breaks, and women come with spices,
Still in despair, to find their grief misplaced—
For he who once, though Lord of life, was dead
Has risen now, triumphant over death.

The morning breaks, and angels here descend,
All festively arrayed with borrowed glory,
To greet the mourners from an empty tomb
And be the first to tell the joyful news.

The morning breaks, and still the Victor waits
Here in the garden, just beyond the stone,
To bring joy to one mourner ere he goes
To lay his trophies at his Father’s feet.

The morning breaks; our praises now arise,
For we, as well, have passed from death to life
Because his power and life now work in us
That we may live, and death in us may die.

I wrote this over this past week, thinking about the various characters in the account we have received of that first Easter morning. Most of the stanzas more or less seemed to “write themselves,” and seemed to need my effort only to keep them from overflowing the somewhat restrictive structure I chose.

I always welcome your comments, critique, suggestions, or any other feedback on this poem or any other part of my work. (In other words, if you like it, if you don’t like it, if something “works”, if something “doesn’t work”, if it makes you think of something or someone, etc., please comment and say so!) If you like this, you can follow this blog, which includes one of my poems every Friday; you can also read other poems I’ve written here on this blog (or if that list is too intimidating, I’m posting more manageable subsets each week, such as yesterday’s installment, so you can just start with those). I’d particularly like to know which poems you think are my best.

This poem is also mirrored on my wiki. If you like it, you are also encouraged to share it with others, subject to my sharing policy.

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8 thoughts on ““Breaking Day”

  1. I would leave out the word “because” in the last stanza. It flowed better for me when I left it out. I don’t think you need it, it is assumed.

    • Mmm … I don’t think so. Removing or changing “because” would require further revision of the line to avoid breaking the meter (as usual for me, this is blank verse, unrhymed iambic pentameter). And I think that some conjunction, whether “beause” or “for,” is necessary there at present to connect the two independent clauses.

  2. Excellent. The phrase ‘to find their grief misplaced’ is parodoxical, wonderful. Repetition of ‘The morning breaks…’ works well, Jonathan. Yes, His power works in us that ‘death in us may die.’ Thank Him!
    Bless you!

    • Thank you, Maria; I’m glad this resonated.

      As it happens, “to find their grief misplaced” was almost one of the first phrases around which the beginning of the poem coalesced; I say “almost” because it was originally “fear” rather than “grief,” until I remembered that the women’s emotions as described in the Gospels were grief and despair but primarily not fear.

  3. Yes, grief not fear.

    In thinking about a way in which this line resonates, I remembered:

    11 But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
    She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”
    John 20

    He seemed to have been misplaced; her grief was misplaced.

    Again, affirming your work here, Jonathan!

    • Ah, so I conveyed even more than I’d hoped. (Like I said in my post last month, there are at least three sets of meanings in a poem: what I intended to convey, what you got from it, and what’s actually there. :)) I just had in mind what (on looking it up) turns out to be the Luke account: “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here …” And I now see why I had “fear misplaced” initially; at least nearly all the accounts mention the women’ fear, but their fear is caused by seeing the angels.

  4. This is so excellent. I really appreciate this. “For he who once, though Lord of life, was dead” and the last stanza make this poem for me. Thanks for sharing.

  5. You DID convey more than you hoped: there’s more that is actually there than you intended. This is probably the way of all good poetry. I’m not sure we are totally ‘master’ of what we create, if we create for Him. Bless you!

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