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Tuesday 20 February 2018

Easter 2011

Resurrection Sunday, the season of renewal and hope, is interpreted in verse by Joseph O'Connor

Easter came. It fell late that year;

A rest from rains of worry and despair

That whirled all winter, into early spring,

The bleak smoke of headlines rising from the houses.

We had known the private stress,

The dawn-lit stare at ceilings,

The wondering was it worth it,

All bets being off;

The return to cigarettes

After many years without them;

The midnight anxieties;

The trouble between spouses.

Easter came. And our youngest gone to London,

Bright with brave hopes of a job over there.

The neighbour's girl in Melbourne,

Her brother gone to Brooklyn;

Skyped faces on a screen

As we spoke in different time-zones,

Tried to smile away their absence,

Tried to joke away the pain.

Easter came. We remembered betrayal.

Anger in the garden as the news did unfold

That Judas Iscariot, traitor of the kiss,

Sold away his countryman

For pieces of gold.

Crows rose from the fields

Like charred ashes of banknotes;

Drifting on the air

Went a politician's lies.

The son of a carpenter

Raged at moneylenders,

Overturned their tables;

Fury filled the airwaves.

'He is not an economist!'

'He does not understand!'

'There are ways and means!'

'We must tighten our belts.'

'Sacrifice is needed by the people, or else,

The pain will be worse in the end.'

What he answered, I don't know.

Perhaps he answered nothing.

They sought him out for interviews,

Profiles in the papers;

But nobody seemed to know why he shied from their lenses.

Celebrity did not interest him. A madman.

Finally, I remember, they dragged him into court

Where he uttered very little, but his mutterings were strange.

'Give your coat to your brother... Help the sick... Love the poor.'

Political correctness gone mad. Nothing more.

They took him to a ghost-estate and nailed him to a tree

Between a once-adored banker and a noted politician;

And he prayed for all sinners as his life bled away,

And on Wall Street they diced for his rags.

And then Easter came. There were no convenient miracles.

'We are where we are,' went the cliché of the times.

But a strange possibility drifted on the air,

Hardly even there, but impossible to murder;

And hope budded out,

And the wildflowers grew again,

As the green blade rises

From the buried grain.

Joseph O'Connor's bestselling novel 'Ghost Light' is published in paperback by Vintage. This Thursday, April 28, at 7pm, he will give a reading at Saint Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin with live music from the string quartet of the Royal Irish Academy, tenor, soprano, and Scullion guitarist Robbie Overson, and a performance from actress Kathy Rose O'Brien. Admission free. Full details at

Sunday Independent

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