Cleopas and another, unaware
of who it was walked with them as they walked
wearily from Jerusalem to their town,
Listened with growing wonder as he talked
Of how the ancient Scriptures had led down
To this their day, this day of their despair.
Tongue-tied they were, or simply too polite
To interrupt a stranger’s eloquence:
It did at least divert their troubled minds
From the unbearable burden of events
Summed up at Golgotha.
(And the sun blinds
Them at its setting, westering into night.)
Still, with a care for him, they bid him dine
At their villatic board. Slender the fare,
But he, their guest, soon was their generous host,
Blessing, breaking the bread. Caught in a stare
At more than meets the eyes, they staring lost
The seen man in the unseeable Divine.
Off in a stunned trice then, they hurried back
To drear Jerusalem in time to hear
Simon’s adventure and relate their own
Before their Subject chose to reappear
And satisfy his famished flesh and bone
With a broiled fish plucked smoking from the rack.
Mangled his wrists and ankles, gashed his side,
Yet death had not undone him—no, no more
Than black holes can the Lord God’s radiance.
No bar to him, that day, tomb, doubt, or door.
Now pity holds him aloof. Were he to advance
Two inches nearer, we’d be terrified.