About "He Is Risen!"
Several years after I had published my first book First Christmas, I was leaving church one day around Easter when my minister, Father Nicholas Dill, asked me, "When are you going to write the story of Easter?" I told him I wasn't sure I had the talent and in any event I could not think of an animal to tell the story. He laughed and said, "How about a rooster?" And that was how the idea to write "He Is Risen!" first germinated.
The story of the death and resurrection of Jesus is a complicated story. I was familiar with the basic story of Jesus' betrayal, death and resurection but was surprised at the numerous side stories. We all know about Judas' betrayal and Peter's denial but I was surprised to find the story of Jesus dispersal of the money changers in the Temple. But there it was in the Gospel of St John.
I wanted the poem to be as close to the Biblical version as possible and each verse deals with a separate event or moment in the lead-up to Jesus' death and resurrection. In total there are 35 verses.
The poem took about 6 months to write. The sales of my book First Christmas had been a bit dismal and I wondered whether I was a one poem wonder or whether I could do it again. So the challenge from Father Nick led me to write this more complicated poem.
I had originally planned to name the rooster Malachi but the untimely death of a young man who I met through his Aunt who works with me, led me to change the name to Machai. Machai was a talented sportsman and a really good person. His family dealt with his death with so much grace that I wanted to do something in honor of him. That also helped me because 2 syllables is so much easier to include in a poem than 3 syllables!
I hope you enjoy the poem.