III. Jairus’ Daughter (5:35-43)

As so often happens, life took priority over poetry. Indeed, I fear this is one of the reasons I am not destined to be the next Wordsworth or Dickinson; I am too quick to set my writing aside. Still, it is a least a little to my credit that I never abandon my writing forever! And so, here is another of my “Immediately” poems, revised and republished as I return to this perplexing, beautiful Gospel. As you read, please bear in mind that these poems are not intended to follow a strict structure (as is characteristic of my writing more generally) nor to preach a definitive interpretation, but rather to explore the experiential accounts of Christ’s miracles in a personal, imaginative way.

III. Jairus’s Daughter (5:35-43)

“Daughter, your faith has made you well,”
He says to another,
To a woman kneeling.

I see myself in her,
Kneeling before the bedside
Of another, dearer
Daughter.

Dealing with these commoners
Must be tiresome.
I feel my empathy give way,
As it so often does,
To annoyance.

Some are calling him ‘Teacher’
And yet he is pressed by the crowd
Carried forward in their wake
When He could part them as the Sea.
He could be as me—
Great.

That too-familiar word calls me back,
That word I hold most dear
And yet with the most fear:
“Daughter.”

Someone clutches my arm
And with it, my heart.

Dead.
In her bed.
Not sleeping?
No, nor breathing.

Daughter.

I stagger.
A gasp as one struck
Escapes my throat.

A father without words,
Desperate still to be heard.

Common or not,
I have to try.
My girl—my daughter,
The flesh and blood
Just twelve years grown—
Cannot just…die.

A man holds me back.

“Why trouble the Teacher?”

But I cannot just leave her,
I try to say.

This man does not hear,
But another, then,
At once draws near
Immediately.

And He heard,
And He knew
What had happened,
What I felt.

“Do not fear.
Only believe.”

But can words alone dry
A father’s tears?
Still, this Word speaks as though
With a Father’s voice
In a lullaby-turned-command:

“Talitha cumi.”

My daughter, arise.

Immediately,
Quicker than on holiday mornings,
With the look saved for me alone,
She wakes.

Eyes bright, arms outstretched
To wrap around
My once-stiff neck.

Immediately,
My daughter and I
are born a second time
To a Father much truer than I
Who required that first we die.

Immediately,
She stands and,
Laughing and crying,
We dance as we did
When she was a child.

Immediately,
The Teacher, True Ruler,
Wakes daughter and father
from restorative sleep,
And mourning dawns as morning
Immediately.

2 comments

  1. Your “Immediate” poems are really thought-provoking and a blessing. Thanks again for sharing your heart…
    I’m still here, still reading, still enjoying your blog, still praying for you…no need to be the next Wordsworth, only the ‘now’ Ryanne, living in the here and now, for such a time as this…

    Liked by 1 person

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