This is a beautiful poem by the French poet Paul Claudel. A wonderful reading for early Resurrection Morning.
“Let us lie still with our eyes closed a moment
before dawn breaks
on the day of Resurrection.
It is yet night, but already someone is stirring
in two or three houses in Jerusalem.
Lamps are being lit,
and women are hurriedly dressing and combing their hair.
The Sabbath is over, and one incomparable star irradiates
the upturned face of our first Sunday.
The shoemaker’s cock prepares to take up the challenge flung at him by his friend on the other side of the Cedron [Kidron].
It is no longer Passover; it is Easter!
Look, listen: in the Hebraic stillness there takes place,
at the joining of three roads,
a meeting of veiled women who exchange questions in hushed voices,
‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb?’ (Mark 16:3) Who will take it away?”
The very fragrance they bear provides the answer.
It is this irresistible quality of hope in their hearts,
this emanation of mysterious ingredients prepared in the bosom of the night by the very hands of the dawn.
Stored up for centuries, slowly expanding,
this sacred chemistry that just now rose from sleep advances to triumph over death.
Paul Claudel (†1955) was a poet, a playwright, a diplomat, and a member of the French Academy. He was a devout Christian.