Henry Abbey

(11 July 1842 - 7 June 1911 / Kingston, NY)

Mary Magdalene - Poem by Henry Abbey

All night I cried in agony
Of grief and bitter loss,
And wept for Him whom they had nailed
Against the shameful cross.

But in the morning, in the dark,
Before the east was gray,
I hastened to the sepulcher
Wherein the body lay.

The stone was rolled away I found;
And filled with fear and woe,
I straight to His disciples ran,
Thereof to let them know.

I said, 'The body of the Lord
Is not within the tomb;
For they have taken him away
Unnoticed in the gloom.

'Where have they laid him? who can tell?
Alas! we know not where.'
The words were slower than my tears
To utter my despair.

Then two disciples, coming forth,
With hurried footsteps sped,
Till, at the garden sepulcher,
They found as I had said.

They saw the door-stone rolled away,
The empty tomb and wide,
The linen face-cloth folded up
And grave-clothes laid aside.

The morn was cold; I heeded not,
With sorrow wrapped about;
Till both were gone to tell the rest,
I stood and wept without.

Then stooping down and looking in,
I saw two angels there,
Whose faces shone with love and joy,
And were divinely fair.

In white effulgence garmented,
That showed the hewn rock's grain,
One at the head, one at the feet,
Sat where my Lord had lain.

To look on them I was afraid,
Their splendor was so great:
They said to me, 'Why weepest thou?'
In tones compassionate.

'I weep,' I said, 'for that my Lord
Is taken hence away,
And that, alas! I do not know
Where he is laid today.'

I sadly rose, and turning back,
Beheld One standing by,
And knew the lily of the dawn
Unfolded in the sky.

But in the pale, uncertain light,
Too blind with tears to see,
I thought it was the gardener
There at the tomb with me.

It soothed me much, the day before,
To say it in my mind,
That in a garden they had laid
The Flower of all mankind.

Until Thy fragrance fell on me,
A thrall to sin was I;
O Flower of Peace! O Flower of Grace!
Thy love is liberty!

But they had taken him away,
Who is of sin the price;
I held the gift that I had brought,
Of perfume, oil, and spice.

I had not staid to braid my hair,
And, in the early breeze,
The long, black luster, damp with tears,
Down fluttered to my knees.

I dimly saw the gardener;
In grief I bowed my head;
'Why weepest thou? whom seekest thou?'
He softly, gently said.

'O sir, if thou have borne him hence,'
I eagerly replied,
'Tell me where thou hast laid my Lord,
Whom they have crucified,

'And I will take him thence away;
Oh, tell me where he lies!'
'Mary!' he said-I knew the voice,
And turned in glad surprise.

For he was not the gardener
That I advanced to greet;
I cried, 'Rabboni!' joyfully,
And knelt at Jesus' feet.

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 26, 2012

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