Lucy Maud Montgomery

(30 November 1874 – 24 Nisan 1942 / New London)

The Watchman


And for fear of Him the keepers did shake and become as dead men. ­-Matthew 28 and 4


My Claudia, it is long since we have met,
So kissed, so held each other heart to heart!
I thought to greet thee as a conqueror comes,
Bearing the trophies of his prowess home,
But Jove hath willed it should be otherwise­
Jove, say I? Nay, some mightier stranger-god
Who thus hath laid his heavy hand on me,
No victor, Claudia, but a broken man
Who seeks to hide his weakness in thy love.

How beautiful thou art! The years have brought
An added splendor to thy loveliness,
With passion of dark eye and lip rose-red
Struggling between its dimple and its pride.
And yet there is somewhat that glooms between
Thy love and mine; come, girdle me about
With thy true arms, and pillow on thy breast
This aching and bewildered head of mine;
Here, where the fountain glitters in the sun
Among the saffron lilies, I will tell­
If so that words will answer my desire­
The shameful fate that hath befallen me.

Down in Jerusalem they slew a man,
Or god­it may be that he was a god­
Those mad, wild Jews whom Pontius Pilate rules.
Thou knowest Pilate, Claudia­ -- a vain man,
Too weak to govern such a howling horde
As those same Jews. This man they crucified.
I knew nought of him­had not heard his name
Until the day they dragged him to his death;
Then all tongues wagged about him and his deeds;
Some said that he had claimed to be their King,
Some that he had blasphemed their deity
'Twas certain he was poor and meanly born,
No warrior he, nor hero; and he taught
Doctrines that surely would upset the world;
And so they killed him to be rid of him­
Wise, very wise, if he were only man,
Not quite so wise if he were half a god!

I know that strange things happened when he died­
There was a darkness and an agony,
And some were vastly frightened­not so I!
What cared I if that mob of reeking Jews
Had brought a nameless curse upon their heads ?
I had no part in that blood-guiltiness.
At least he died; and some few friends of his­
I think he had not very many friends­
Took him and laid him in a garden tomb.
A watch was set about the sepulchre,
Lest these, his friends, should hide him and proclaim
That he had risen as he had fore-told.
Laugh not, my Claudia. I laughed when I heard
The prophecy. I would I had not laughed!

I, Maximus, was chosen for the guard
With all my trusty fellows. Pilate knew
I was a man who had no foolish heart
Of softness all unworthy of a man!
My eyes had looked upon a tortured slave
As on a beetle crushed beneath my tread;
I gloried in the splendid strife of war,
Lusting for conquest; I had won the praise
Of our stern general on a scarlet field;
Red in my veins the warrior passion ran,
For I had sprung from heroes, Roman born!

That second night we watched before the tomb;
My men were merry; on the velvet turf,
Bestarred with early blossoms of the Spring,
They diced with jest and laughter; all around
The moonlight washed us like a silver lake,
Save where that silent, sealéd sepulchre
Was hung with shadow as a purple pall.
A faint wind stirred among the olive boughs­
Methinks I hear the sighing of that wind
In all sounds since, it was so dumbly sad;
But as the night wore on it died away
And all was deadly stillness; Claudia,
That stillness was most awful, as if some
Great heart had broken and so ceased to beat!
I thought of many things, but found no joy
In any thought, even the thought of thee;
The moon waned in the west and sickly grew
Her light sucked from her in the breaking dawn­
Never was dawn so welcome as that pale,
Faint glimmer in the cloudless, brooding sky!

Claudia, how may I tell what came to pass?
I have been mocked at when I told the tale
For a crazed dreamer punished by the gods
Because he slept on guard; but mock not thou!
I could not bear it if thy lips should mock
The vision dread of that Judean morn.

Sudden the pallid east was all aflame
With radiance that beat upon our eyes
As from noonday sun; and then we saw
Two shapes that were as the immortal gods
Standing before the tomb; around me fell
My men as dead; but I, though through my veins
Ran a cold tremor never known before,
Withstood the shock and saw one shining shape
Roll back the stone; the whole world seemed ablaze,
And through the garden came a rushing wind
Thundering a paeon as of victory.

Then that dead man came forth! Oh, Claudia,
If thou coulds't but have seen the face of him!
Never was such a conqueror! Yet no pride
Was in it­nought but love and tenderness,
Such as we Romans scoff at; and his eyes
Bespake him royal. Oh, my Claudia,
Surely he was no Jew but very god!

Then he looked full upon me. I had borne
Much staunchly, but that look I could not bear!
What man may front a god and live? I fell
Prone, as if stricken by a thunderbolt;
And, though I died not, somewhat of me died
That made me man. When my long stupor passed
I was no longer Maximus­I was
A weakling with a piteous woman-soul,
All strength and pride, joy and ambition gone­
My Claudia, dare I tell thee what foul curse
Is mine because I looked upon a god?

I care no more for glory; all desire
For conquest and for strife is gone from me,
All eagerness for war; I only care
To help and heal bruised beings, and to give
Some comfort to the weak and suffering.
I cannot even hate those Jews; my lips
Speak harshly of them, but within my heart
I feel a strange compassion; and I love
All creatures, to the vilest of the slaves
Who seem to me as brothers! Claudia,
Scorn me not for this weakness; it will pass­
Surely 'twill pass in time and I shall be
Maximus strong and valiant once again,
Forgetting that slain god! and yet­and yet­
He looked as one who could not be forgot!

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read poems about / on: pride, god, passion, wind, war, hero, red, joy, purple, laughter, sun, strength, silver, hate, fate, sad, woman, spring, rose, moon

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (The Watchman by Lucy Maud Montgomery )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

Top Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  9. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
    Maya Angelou
  10. Invictus
    William Ernest Henley

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. How Suicide Works 3, C Jay Caputo
  2. Under The Moonlit Nights, I Think of Kis.., Bijay Kant Dubey
  3. The Poet Is A Liar, A Great Liar, You Ma.., Bijay Kant Dubey
  4. A Poet, Chris Newton
  5. Insomnia, petra pen
  6. "The Rest of My Life.", Aaron Waingrow
  7. La forme a conséquence, douglas scotney
  8. How Suicide Works 2, C Jay Caputo
  9. Eid Mubarak, Nasarudheen.P. Parameswaran
  10. My Feet, Randy McClave

Poem of the Day

poet Christina Georgina Rossetti

Where sunless rivers weep
Their waves into the deep,
She sleeps a charmed sleep:
Awake her not.
Led by a single star,
She came from very far
...... Read complete »

   

Member Poem

[Hata Bildir]