Lazarus by Joseph Braddock

Van Gogh Lazarus

Lazarus by Van Gogh (after Rembrandt)

“And the dead man rose.” For the second in our series of poems at Eastertide Alan, churchwarden,  has chosen Lazarus by the English poet Joseph Braddock (b. 1902).

The poet tackles the mystery of Lazarus’ four days of death – where was he – what did he experience? What was in the ‘undiscovered country’?

The poem is more optimistic. Lazarus had to keep his Heavenly vision secret, because it was beyond human words. As a philosopher said: “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent”.

Lazarus kept his vision of Heaven to himself. And at the last, he passed to a future of which he had a foretaste.

The Resurrection is mystery and wonder. Words ‘fall… baffled back,’ dazed, at times per

Lazarus – Joseph Braddock

While Mary wept within her darkened room,
While Martha served the guests and broke her heart,
Where were you, Lazarus, those four days?

Not in the garden-tomb, cool from the sun,
But in a world of light, glory beyond
The toys of sense, the friend of Time.

‘The undiscover’d country from whose bourn
No traveller returns’ –
But you, bewildered Lazarus, came back,
Answering his mighty word of power:
‘Lazarus, come forth!’
You stood, bound in your grave-clothes in the sun,
While awe fell on the shaking crowd,
Your amazed soul caged dumbly in your eye.

How could you, Lazarus, speak to them of that?
Words would fall baffled back
Beating against the doors of sense,
The myth of Time.

How make the deaf to hear?
The blind to see?
So your soul kept a secret: unguessed Heaven.
Dazed, you walked softly all your length of hours,
A silent man, a quiet man, remote,
A man who guards a dream. 


About stchrysostoms

St Chrysostom’s is an Anglican (Church of England) parish church in Manchester, UK. We’re an inclusive, diverse and welcoming faith community rejoicing in our Anglo Catholic tradition, where people of many differing backgrounds make friends. Find our Facebook group at
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