It happens this way …
In 1970 I was a Sister of Mercy and an English teacher at Camden Catholic High School in Cherry Hill, NJ. When Easter Sunday arrived on a cold, windy day, I roused a group of sisters out of bed (a few were not too happy with me!), and we joined a priest, students, and families under the goal post on the football field to celebrate a sunrise Mass. My best-laid plan for a grand finale was foiled by Mother Nature. Here’s what happened that day. And here’s to feeling “the glory pouring over the earth” today and every day.
Easter Sunrise Mass
And it was all ground-crunching glory
on the high school football field
where we huddled for the final play.
We knew the drill this frosted dawn.
No surprise. He’d break through grief
and fear and pounce on death again.
So to liven up the victory,
I hid balloons inside my car
and planned to set them free the moment
Easter alleluia-ed in. And it would be
all pinks, mint greens and baby blues splashing
Jersey skies with cheers to hang our memories on.
But nature sacked my pastel scheme.
Just as the sun broke through,
my impudent balloons refused to fly.
They rabbited the turf, hopping
over weeds and parking lots, racing
unforgiving winds down unrisen streets.
And it was all confusion and dismay
with colors dashing off and students,
parents, nuns and priests giddy with the scene
as if it were a practiced play and I, a brilliant mastermind.
I faked a hero’s bow for unwarranted applause
and heard myself pontificate, Nothing risen stays.
My words raced down the near sidelines
with the gravity of ups and downs,
the short-lived glee of crocuses,
the glory pouring over earth.
No surprise, I gathered in my dignity
and headed home to break my fast.
On either side of life, nothing risen lasts.