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Easter poems 2023

27 February 2023 By Vilma Blenman, Lesley-Anne Evans, D. S. Martin

Poems by contemporary Canadian poets. Continuing an annual tradition at Faith Today.

More Easter poems

An online supplement of contemporary Canadian poetry, an addition to those published in our Mar/Apr 2023 issue.

Memories of Myrrh

Vilma Blenman

After that night I went home with John
but how jarring sleeping in a different bed.
No sleep came, only the sight of blood,
thick clots darkening a face familiar yet not
and the sound of hammering–of nails,
incessant even now.
Looking back, how little I remember of
looking up at that centre cross.
There was a Roman sword that flashed in late afternoon
light, polished steel gleaming like a carpenter’s plane.
I held my breath then.
I remember too, a flock of turtle doves took flight
from the hill. Frightened, I think. Too much commotion.
John or Peter may recall something else.
Ask them. Ask my sister or ask his brothers. 
But I do remember he never came for Passover seder
two nights before. I missed him then. I miss him now.
Not that the ending was a surprise, mind you.
I have memories of myrrh
given at his birth–for use at his death.
I know that now. That’s all I remember.


D. S. Martin

St. Peter's Basilica

How young she looks   to have a full-grown son
draped across her knees   Comprehending   we pity

all her face conveys   though the corpse shows
little evidence of his manner of death   Every

vein bulges with life   his muscles maintain their tone
so that his merely human form reflects the divine beauty

in which it was made   & Michelangelo may add knowledge
to skill   from all of those late nights studying anatomy

How young she looks   & how large   but the mountain
of cloth   the genius in the fabric folds   so delicately

shaped from stone   holds our attention & maintains
the pyramid-like balance   We sense the tragedy

of a mother losing her son   & consider all that's known
from scripture   The sculptor expresses his piety

using this most-perfect piece of marble   & his considerable
gift   to speak of love & loss   humanity & deity

How young she looks   as young as the artist's mother
would have been when she slipped into eternity 

D.S. Martin’s poem “Pietà” is republished with permission from his book Ampersand (2018, Poiema/Cascade).

On Volunteering Twice a Week at the Drop-in Centre

Lesley-Anne Evans

Open the door. The sacred
will walk right in. Not who
you might think of—
the god with the tally card.
This version of divinity has street feet,
fills her coffee mug halfway
with sugar, like she fills
her veins with snow.


Open the door. The god
of welfare Wednesday will walk in.
Thursday and Friday will be
like Sunday—sandwich bread
broken and buttered for breakfast,
each kindness like holy juice,
each smile a prayer.


Open the door. The beloved
will come insistent—the way
he looks through racks of donations
in the back room, tries on
each coat, each scuffed shoe. See
how he stuffs more than he needs
into his backpack? He’ll trade
for what keeps him up for days.


Open the door. You’ll be a wreck
on the shore of true stories—each one
etched on your mind
like a single tear tattoo.
You’ll be a book of blank pages,
shocked at what the Beloved writes,
shocked at the scribbles
of your discerning friends.


Come in, you’ll hear yourself
say, again and again—
this doorway is my heart.
Drag in your duffel bag,
upend your cart. The Holy One is
here—you are welcome here—
as surely as this mug of tea
warms your aching hands.

Everything and Always

Lesley-Anne Evans

Stand under the pin holed dome
of night sky, far from city lights,

and galaxies will swirl in your veins,
star dust will widen your eyes.

I think I know so much. Then, I light
a beeswax candle to chase night’s gloom

and my beloved’s familiar face
becomes an exotic map I trace

amazed. As though, in the heavens
and on earth is where I’m born again.

About the poets: Vilma Blenman is a Jamaican-Canadian poet, registered psychotherapist and teacher in Pickering, Ont. Lesley-Anne Evans is a B.C. poet who was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and grew up in Toronto. D.S. Martin of Brampton, Ont., is poet-in-residence at McMaster Divinity College.
Suggestions or submissions for Easter 2024 are welcome.

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