This poem is both an ekphrasis and a midrash poem. As an ekphrasis, it is based on the painting of the brilliant artist, Kelly Schumacher, founder of Agnus Dei Liturgical Arts, with the same title as the poem. She describes the painting as the following, “Mary is weeping at the tomb, searching for Christ, whom she came to anoint. She has a sinking feeling in her stomach, thinking Jesus is gone forever. She does not know yet the empty tomb means He is alive again. Here is the moment before she sees Jesus. He is on the other side of the lilies where you stand, watching her and ready to speak and to comfort her. In Song of Solomon 6:2, the Shulamite remembers, ‘My beloved is gone down into his garden, to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies’ KJV. Jesus was buried in a garden, His resurrection meant to herald the coming new creation. The creation He is the firstborn of.” Alongside Song of Solomon 6:2, I would also add John 20:11-16 on which the scene is based on. You can view her amazing paintings in the following link. Anyway, here is the poem.
Three days later I come with spices
to properly prepare the corpse of my Beloved.
But lo! The stone is rolled away,
and His body is no longer there!
O, my God, why must this be?
My Beloved’s body has been stolen.
Do You see my running tears?
Do You hear the agony of my cries?
Suddenly, I see the gardener,
standing amongst the lilies all along.
“Why do you weep?” he asks curiously,
and I demand he give me my Beloved.
But with soft and quiet gentleness,
and a compassion so ineffable,
he says with pure love, “Mary.”
Rabboni! My Lord and my God!