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Requiem and Resurrection on Easter

+++++I. +++++Kyrie

Have mercy —+++++there is too much grief
+++++grinding in our heart:

an unrelenting rain
spelling poignantly on the streets
and the bright pebbles,

+++++on the common places
sparrows find for cover —
+++++have mercy — scatter over the land,
dreamingly. It’s May

+++++and your appalled face is everywhere:
++++++++++look upon us,

have mercy.+++++Look upon the east,
+++++the wind rips the sky.+++++Mercy.
We are fallen.

Some say
+++++it has always been this way — fallen,
trodden upon or
++++++++++we trod upon others.
Now, the day speaks in tongues
+++++like many prophets,
++++++++++like soothsayers and naysayers
+++++voicing their visions,

their fire-and-brimstone
+++++silk wings of lingering doubt.

Mercy.+++++There is too much grief.
+++++We barely escape.+++++We bruise.
The unforeseeable music is too scary to hear,
+++++singing our failures,
our unsteady houses on sand.

We know we don’t deserve mercy.
We ask anyway.+++++We ask many ways.
+++++We stare with lovesick eyes, anyway.

There is too much grief,
+++++falling uneven rain,
sadly, on the street today,
++++++++++like the lack of mercy:

it is that cold in the rush of wind
arriving from the graveyard;

+++++it is a story that reaches its zenith
about the fathomless loss
someone drowns in;

++++++++++even then, love free-falls


The angels are singing hymns
inside the light
++++++++++piercing the sky
+++++like a Roman lance.

Some cannot stand to hear it,

cannot stand+++++within the light,
+++++turn away
++++++++++from being seen,

disbelieving what they hear.

++++++++++Even then,
+++++love keeps arriving.

Praise to the unknown
+++++breaking open its secrets
+++++until all we could never imagine
++++++++++becomes real.

Praise the shadows created,
+++++inscribed with words
++++++++++far away
++++++++++with despair.

Praise whatever gives strength,
+++++enriches the weary spirit

+++++so that we endure
+++++any unpleasant experience,
++++++++++to see another day
+++++++++++++++and another.

Praise the peace the strength to survive
+++++in spite of the tumultuous days
++++++++++knowing the luminous is near

+++++and expandable —
+++++like invisible comforting arms
++++++++++someone feels
+++++whenever they need reassurance.

how the day pulses:
++++++++++sunrise to sunset
++++++++++to wave-churn
++++++++++in our blood.


+++++I believe in this day,
this daily awakening,+++++this rise
to the light,+++this silence before a storm
of words.++++++++++I believe
+++++this all passes —
if you don’t see what you want,
+++++another day will arrive.

+++++I believe+++++in music
in unexpected places. When I lay
on your chest, I hear+++++larks,
+++++the rain on silence
+++++going into a deeper quiet,

++++++++++the child dying
+++++as soon as they are born
and the absence
+++++when no one can hug them.

I believe in the support
in unexpected times,

++++++++++and the sadness
+++++when it never happens.

The music has a pause,
+++++the tuning of instruments,
+++++the off-key moments warming up,

light from light,
+++++true silence+++++from true silence
++++++++++and contemplation,
from the corner in a nave
+++++where shadows linger
+++++like late confessionals
++++++++++clutching their rosary,
+++++tight as the desire for forgiveness.

I believe++++++++++forgiveness is possible;

but I also believe+++++the mind seldom forgets,
I believe some people perpetuate mistakes,

+++++I believe there is an end
++++++++++to amount of forgiveness
+++++when someone can no longer forgive —

there’s a limit to the amount of pain we will endure,
+++++where we no longer can forgive
++++++++++and the other person
+++++does not deserve forgiveness.

I believe the music
provides a rest spot
+++++for someone to recover for pain,

+++++and a rest spot
+++++for forgiveness
+++++for people who are repentant,

+++++and, in that light,
+++++shadows cannot last.


++++++++++Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus
++++++++++Dominus Deus Sabaoth.

We do not need fiery six-winged seraphim,
nor blessed bread. Keep them.

We do not need to open the Arc of Covenant,
to open this day
like a prayer we see in our open palms.

Someone could die today,
+++++unprepared for what transpires next;

+++++they would die, eventually,

+++++the way would be prepared anyway:

+++++the soul would rise
+++++like music from an organ’s bellows,
++++++++++each note
++++++++++telling the story of their life:

+++++telling all the good they did,
++++++++++even the small kindnesses
++++++++++they forgot, like one misplaces
++++++++++keys only to find them later
++++++++++mislaid:+++++like kisses
++++++++++on a child’s face
+++++and how their child’s face
++++++++++almost glowed
++++++++++in the dark, after kissed.

Today, someone likely died

+++++and the music of their life
+++++is in the birdsong, the crisp light,
+++++the after-light at night, the cricket throb,
+++++the veins in the palm leaves
+++++carried in re-enactment, the sighs
+++++when someone is hugged,
+++++when someone smiles during and after.


We need help.+++++We need better guidance
+++++we actually can follow.

+++++We need blessings
++++++++++before we go on with our life,
+++++++++++++++our mistakes.

Raise your hand,+++++bless us,
+++++send us out with messages
++++++++++engraved in our hearts.

+++++And if we die,
+++++watch our souls exit
++++++++++like wrens;

++++++++++and, if we soar,
guide us to where we need to go,
+++++to where we’ve never been,
++++++++++where we can’t even imagine.

+++++++++++++++Let us join
++++++++++++++++++++the chorus;
++++++++++++++++++++let us blend
+++++++++++++++++++++++++with the rain.

+++++VI.+++++Agnus Dei

O silence that engages us,+++++grant us peace.
O daily morning,+++++++++++brighten our hearts,
+++++++++++++++++++++++lift us up into light.

O gracious is the heart in peace with itself:
+++++++++++++++++++++++grant us rest.

I know the spirit can be restless,
can search unreasonably for rest, searching here
+++++and there, swinging a lantern
they have forgotten to light.+++++Turn on a light
++++++++++++++++++++++++inside us.

I know the deft fingers of light playing music,
stirring those that hear.++++++++++Let others hear it.

The morning light has music,
+++++placing the music in rocks, water, air,
+++++the low ferns, the hushed moss
+++++and its tiny mass
++++++++++cooperating together
+++++to adapt
++++++++++to the conditions of the world.
++++++++++++++++++++Let us absorb
++++++++++++++++++++and cooperate.

I know the harboring silence,
+++++++++++++++what it says,
+++++the hiddenness sacred music and its meaning,
++++++++++the epiphany,+++++its hosanas,

its wind-ripped messages,
+++++the name of the spirit,
++++++++++its unnamable, unrepeatable name —

++++++++++every letter, found: in fossils,
++++++++++tree rings, eclipses, snow crystals,
++++++++++cacophony of sudden flamingo flight
++++++++++bringing morning light,

++++++++++light encompassing everywhere,
+++++++++++++++every moment —
+++++++++++++++like amen
++++++++++++++++++++and anon,

++++++++++after the last quivering note
++++++++++passes+++++like a soul
+++++++++++++++++++++++++into the light
+++++++++++++++always beyond
++++++++++++++++++++this light.

Martin Willitts Jr is a retired librarian and classical and jazz musician. As a Quaker, his commitment to non-violence led him to become a field medic for the American Friends Service Committee in Vietnam.