Resurrection of Arp

Original Text: 
A. J. M. Smith, The Complete Poems, ed. Brian Trehearne (London, Ontario: Canadian Poetry Press, 2007): 90-91.
2out of the black sleeve of the tomb;
3he could see like a cat in the dark,
4but the light left him dumb.
5He stood up to testify,
6and his tongue wouldn't work
7in the old groove; he had to try
8other tongues, including the Scandinavian.
9The saints were all well pleased;
11heresies scattered like ninepins;
12all the tickets were sold.
13When they turned down the gas
14everybody could see there was
15a halo of tongues of pale fire
17and a white bird
18fluttered away in the rafters;
19people heard
21He spoke another language
22majestic beautiful wild
23holy superlative believable
24and undefiled
25by any comprehensible
27to provoke dissent
28or found a schism .Àæ
29After the gratifyingly large
30number of converts had been given receipts
31the meeting adjourned to the social hall
32for sexual intercourse (dancing) and eats.
33Arp talked to the reporters:
34on the whole, was glad to have cheated the tomb,
35though the angels had been 'extremely courteous',
36and death, after all, was only 'another room'.


1] A parody of Christ's resurrection from the tomb three days after his crucifixion. Back to Line
10] periods: sentences. Back to Line
16] At Pentecost the Holy Ghost, symbolized as a white bird, descended on the apostles of Christ in tongues of fire and gave them the ability to speak in different languages. Back to Line
20] breaking of .. wind: farting. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
Publication Notes: 
New Verse
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire / Sharine Leung
RPO Edition: 
Special Copyright: 

Copyright © the estate of A.J.M. Smith. Included
with the generous permission of William Toye, his literary executor.