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Unformatted text preview: hat the Master said, Try to believe that we need have no fear. Let me, the selfish and the careless one, Be housewife and a mother for tonight; For I am not so fearful as you are, And I was not so eager." Martha sank Down at her sister's feet and there sat watching A flower that had a small familiar name That was as old as memory, but was not The name of what she saw now in its brief And infinite mystery that so frightened her That life became a terror. Tears again Flooded her eyes and overflowed. "No, Mary," She murmured slowly, hating her own words Before she heard them, "you are not so eager To see our brother as we see him now; Neither is He who gave him back to us. I was to be the simple one, as always, And this was all for me." She stared again Over among the trees where Lazarus, Who seemed to be a man who was not there, Might have been one more shadow among shadows, If she had not remembered. Then she felt The cool calm hands of Mary on her face, And shivered, wondering if such hands were real. "The Master loved you as He loved us all, Martha; and you are saying only things That children say when they have had no sleep. Try somehow now to rest a little while; You know that I am here, and that our friends Are coming if I call." Martha at last Arose, and went with Mary to the door, Where they stood looking off at the same place, And at the same shape that was always there As if it would not ever move or speak, And always would be there. "Mary, go now, Before the dark that will be coming hides him. I am afraid of him out there alone, Unless I see him; and I have forgotten What sleep is. Go now -- make him look at you -- And I shall hear him if he stirs or whispers. Go! -- or I'll scream and bring all Bethany To come and make him speak. Make him say once That he is glad, and God may say the rest. Though He say I shall sleep, and sleep for ever, I shall not care for that . . . Go!" Mary, moving Almost as if an angry child had pushed her, Went forward a few steps; and having waited As long as Martha's eyes would
66 The Three Taverns A Book of Poems By Edwin Arlington Robinson look at hers, Went forward a few more, and a few more; And so, until she came to Lazarus, Who crouched with his face hidden in his hands, Like one that had no face. Before she spoke, Feeling her sister's eyes that were behind her As if the door where Martha stood were now As far from her as Egypt, Mary turned Once more to see that she was there. Then, softly, Fearing him not so much as wondering What his first word might be, said, "Lazarus, Forgive us if we seemed afraid of you;" And having spoken, pitied her poor speech That had so little seeming gladness in it, So little comfort, and so little love. There was no sign from him that he had heard, Or that he knew that she was there, or cared Whether she spoke to him again or died There at his feet. "We love you, Lazarus, And we are not afraid. The Master said We need not be afraid. Will you not say To me that you are glad? Look, Lazarus! Look at my face, and see me. This is Mary....
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- Spring '03
- The Bible