Stranger on the road
The dead are dead. They do not rise again.
And yet I see in You a look I knew
In One so recently destroyed and laid
Away to wither on a slab of stone.
I almost could believe - but I have seen
Your blue and bloodless hands and broken feet,
The way You crumpled when they took You down.
This is a stranger, and I know Him not.
The road is long. I will not lift my eyes,
For fear has gripped my heart, and fear I know -
The shield that keeps me safe from rising hope;
The friend that keeps You stranger still to me.
Why should You walk with me along the road,
An unknown whom I almost think I fear
Because You seem like someone in a dream
Of deathlessness, when death alone is real?
Do not disturb me now. I am content
With death, for grief is kinder now than hope.
While there was hope I suffered. Now I go
In certainty, for death has surely come.
Do not disturb the ending. What is done
Is done forever. Neither hope nor tears
Can touch finality. Do not arouse
The dead. Come, Stranger, let us say "Amen."
You said You would return, and I believed
Too long already. Now my eyes are sealed
Against the slender thread of hope that cuts
Into my calm despair. 0 let me go!
Your Word surrounds You like a golden light,
And I can scarcely see the road we walk
Because my eyes are veiled. Disturb me not,
I beg of You. I would not see You now.
Must I remember now? And yet the light
Seems even brighter, and the road becomes
A sudden splash of sunlight. Who are You
Who dares to enter into fear and death?
Your Voice reminds me of an ancient song
My lips be& to sing, although I hoped
It was forgotten. Now I hear again
A Word I thought had been forever dead,
As You had died. I cannot keep my eyes
From looking up. Perhaps I did not see
The things I thought. Perhaps this light has come
To heal my eyes and let them see again.
Lord, did You really keep Your lovely Word?
Was I mistaken? Did You rise again?
And was it I who failed, instead of You?
Are You returned to save me from the dead?
Dear Stranger, let me recognize Your face,
And all my doubts are answered. They are dead
If You are living. Let me see again,
And hope will be transformed to certainty.
The dead are dead, but they do rise again.
Let me remember only that. It was
The rest that was the dream. The light has come.
My eyes are opening to look on You.
By Helen Schucman, April 2, 1977