Christ came juggling from the tomb, flipping and bouncing death’s stone pages, tossing those narrow letters high against the roots of dawn spread in cloud. This Jesus, clown, came dancing in the dust of Judea, each slapping step a new blossom spiked with joy. Hey! Listen—that chuckle in the dark, that clean blast of laughter behind— Christ comes juggling our tombs, tossing them high and higher yet, until they hit the sun and break open and we fall out, dancing and juggling our griefs like sizzling balls of light.
This poem is from Christographia by Eugene Warren (St. Louis, MO: The Cauldron Press, 1977), a chapbook of thirty-two numbered poems that “attempt to express personal views of, & perspectives on, Christ.” The book’s title comes from a series of sermons by the Puritan poet and preacher Edward Taylor.
Gene Warren Doty (1941–2015) was an American poet in the Anabaptist tradition who taught in the English department of Missouri S&T for forty-two years. Throughout his career he explored a variety of non-Western poetic forms, including haiku, renga, tanka, sijo, and ghazals. He is the author of seven books of poetry: Christographia, Rumors of Light, Geometries of Light, Fishing at Easter, Similitudes, Nose to Nose, and Zero: Thirty Ghazals. Until 1988 his books and poems were signed “Eugene Warren,” Warren being the surname of his adoptive father, George, who raised him; but from 1988 onward he used the surname of his biological father, Floyd Doty.