Sunday, 27 March 2016

Easter Sunday 2016

I wrote the piece below for an event in Winchester which celebrated the 900 year anniversary of Hyde Abbey. The background image to this blog is taken from an ancient manuscript found in the abbey. It depicts the resurrected Christ and Mary Magdalene at the tomb and bears the inscription ‘Noli me tangere’ (‘Do not cling to me’ in Latin, the words John’s gospel attribute to Jesus). But the scripture doesn’t speak of Mary ever touching him – is Jesus warning her not to, or does the text leave their embrace out? What else is missing from the passage? It is written using a medieval alliterative form….

Noli me tangere

Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me…”
                                                  John 20:17

The pair are pale as paper,
their eyes like the empty tomb,
his spotted hand speculates hers
barely reaching from her breast,
fingers fluttering up to his,
all making for so sedate a scene
as if the clawing nails, the clamping
arms, at his waist the warm wet
breath as if she would bury
her very heart in him,
had been traded in translation.
That’s unless this is a moment more –
his hovering hand
a final grazing grace?

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