An Easter Poem


Easter service is over
and my ears ring Hallelujah
as the congregation is released
into a bright spring morning

but there are joggers in the street
and ads for Tiger baseball on the radio.
One neighbor mows his lawn
while another paints a shutter
and no one seems to understand –
how can they fail to see? –
that everything has changed

and I am dismayed
until it occurs to me
it was probably like this
in Jerusalem on that first day,
the whole town grateful
to return to normal
after all the commotion
over two common thieves
and a noisy country preacher,
the one from Galilee.

This week’s poem recognizes the fact Easter is upon us and examines my thoughts after church on Easter Sunday a few years ago. Some of my earliest memories are of the Easter service at Central Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, followed by a family gathering at Aunt Jac and Uncle Carl Sigtenhorst’s house. Baked ham served with Aunt Jac’s raisin sauce* was always the centerpiece of our Easter meal (and deviled eggs, too). A few months ago I published a poem about the Crucifixion and the power of story in our lives . . . I think it worth revisiting in this Holy Week.

*Aunt Jac’s Raisin Sauce:

1 and 1/2 cups water
1 cup brown sugar
salt (see notes below)
1 teaspoon flour or cornstarch (see notes below)
1 stick cinnamon
raisins (see notes below)
1/2 cup vinegar

Combine and boil. (see notes below)

Gotta love the absence of specificity in old family recipes; ‘eh? After experimenting and comparing notes with a friend who also attempted to duplicate Aunt Jac’s sauce, I recommend using 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1.5 cups of raisins. One teaspoon of flour or cornstarch was too light; try 2t and be prepared to move to 3t. You’re looking for an eventual consistency close to motor oil (please forgive the analogy, Aunt Jac). My recollection is that the raisin sauce should be thicker than good maple syrup but not as thick as molasses. Combine all ingredients and bring to a slow boil, then turn the heat down and barely simmer for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring frequently until the flavors blend and the sauce is as thick as, well, motor oil. Specifically, as thick as Pennzoil 10W-30 (ok, I’m kidding about the 10W-30, but you get the idea).

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A New Poem Every Monday
(tho’ sometimes life gets in the way)

Joseph Neely, all rights to original material reserved