Tuesday, July 29, 2003

fragment: tomb

ALL: Darkness can mean many things.
There’s evil and fear
solitude and ignorance
greatness and despair

M3: And death.

ALL: And death.
Death the inevitable, the final arbiter,
the corruptor,
the final stage,
the final word.

M3: A last breath.

ALL: Tomb.

W1: A burial place. A crypt of darkness.
The dead’s resting place.
Their final bed.

ALL: Tomb.

M1: The final.

W2: The inevitable.

M2: Dark and

W3: Cold and

M2: Airless and

W1: Cramped and

M3: Black

ALL: Tomb!

M3: This darkness calls to mind
a fragment I hold.

ALL: Tomb!

M3: I recall a final sunset,
a farewell brilliance of orange and red.
I recall a final touch of water,
a final taste of coolness.
I recall a final bout of laughter—laughter?
No. Tears, I recall tears.
Tears of my sisters as they stayed by my side,
as the sickness devoured my body
and my mind began to slip
slip slide slip and slide
slip gently into dreamless sleep.
Sleep. Slip into sleep.
Sleep never again to
Sleep never again
Sleep never
Sleep.
Yes, I slept and so sleeping
fell fell fell fell fell
into darkness.

M1: Now a certain man was sick
in the town called Bethany,
the town of two sisters
named Mary and Martha.

M3: Sleep. Sleep.
Yes. Let me sleep.
Let this darkness carry me off into dreamless sleep.
Carry me.

W3: And this was the Mary who had once
anointed the Lord with fragrant oil
and wiped His feet with her hair,
whose brother lay at death’s door.

M3: Dim my vision.
Dull my senses.
Carry me off into rest.

M1: And Jesus loved them very much.
So the sisters went to Him and said,

W2: Lord, oh Lord,
the man whom You love is sick.

W3: And Jesus said

M2: Our friend just sleeps.
I will go to wake him up.

(Man One and Woman Three begin to wrap a light gauze or similar material around the body of Man Three as he and the others speak.)

M3: Wrap around my body the cloth
of sleep, night’s dressing gown.
Wrap my hands cold so cold
void of warmth and tenderness.

W1: But when He arrived at Bethany
our brother was already four days in the tomb.

M3: In darkness I am hard.
Darkness is harsh and cold
wrapping both young and old
the brave and the bold.
Rich men and poor
are all alike.

W2: Then Martha came up to Jesus,
tears in her eyes,
quiver to her lips,

W1: Lord, if You had been there sooner
my brother would not have died!
But even now I know
that whatever You ask of God, Lord,
God will give to You,
for You are His Son.

M3: Wrap my body
and sing the lament
for I have gone away
away away away away
never to be seen again.

M2: Your brother will rise again.

W1: Of course, of course,
at the resurrection of the last day.

M2: I am the resurrection and the life.
He who believes in me, though he may die, shall live.
And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.

M3: Sing me to sleep.
Voice a lament to my passing.
Never again will I hear your songs.
Never again
Never ever
Never.

M2: Where have you laid him?

M3: Never ever never
ever never
never
ever never
never ever never

W1: Lord come and see.

M3: In the darkness it is cold.
It is cold and it is dark.
There is no sound.
There is no light.
I am alone
alone.

W2: And Jesus wept.

M3: Shed your tears.
You shed them in vain.
Sun’s time has given way to night’s time.
Light over to darkness has surrendered.
Cry not, waste not, weep not.
I am trapped by the dark
and the dark is so cold and strong.
Cold and strong and cold and dark.

M2: Take away this stone.

W1: But Lord, his body has been there for
four days. There will be a stench.

M3: In death there is no smell, no time, no light.
The dead do not see, do not hear, do not smell,
do not know, do not care, do not live.
Four days are ten days are a hundred thousand
upon hundreds of thousands are but one day
in an eternal night of death.

M2: Did I not tell you that if you will believe
you will see the glory of God?
Take the stone away.

W2: And we did.

M2: Father, I thank You for hearing me.

M3: The dead have no ears.
The color of sound is black.
Black sound is sound black.
Sound is silence.

W1: And Jesus stood before the empty tomb

M2: LAZARUS COME OUT!!!

(There is a pause. Then the lights come back on stage in force, and Man Three breaks the cloth that binds him, and rips the cloth off.)

M3: Light.
Light!
LIGHT!!

(Woman One and Woman Two rush to him and embrace him.)

M3: Oh my Lord
the tomb was dark
and cold and lightless
and the silence was so great
and the tombstone so large
and my body so cold
and I—
Lord, oh, I—
Lord, my Lord.

M2: Lazarus, Lazarus.

W1+W2: From womb to tomb
from tomb to life again
from darkness to light
death to life
journeyed Lazarus.

M3: This is all I remember.

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