The Third Day. A Poem by Niall McArdle

I’m thinking of Christ as I sometimes do.

Not in a spiritual way, not Jesus doing magic tricks.

No water into wine or healing lepers for me

but, you know,

blessed are the peacemakers,

the first shall be last,

throw the money-changers out of the temple.


That fella. I’m fond of him and wonder

how he’d cope in the lockdown,

alone and no-one to talk to.

He was a great one for having the chats.

He could do the sermon on the mount as a Zoom,

or have an apostolic WhatsApp

I imagine he’d be good at social media,

hashtag loveyourneighbour.


On Good Friday did he know that by Sunday he’d be the comeback kid,

and if he did, did that comfort him even as the nails were driven in?

Or was he thinking, as I would, being beaten up and killed

is an awful lot to go through just to please the old man.


And on the third day did he come from the cave

purblind,bleary, blinking but joyful,

expecting a crowd of mates and a shindig,

or was he already missing

the warmth of the shroud,

the shelter of the tomb?


Christians say we should follow his example but

you need the patience of a saint to put up with all this.

One day soon, when we walk into the sunlight

in search of a handshake or a hug from old friends, old lovers,

how will we cope?


How will we be?


Niall McArdle’s work has appeared in the Irish Times, Banshee, Spontaneity, Honest Ulsterman, Bangor Literary Journal, RTÉ Guide, AGNI Online and Phoenix Irish Short Stories, and has been broadcast on RTÉ Radio. Say hello on twitter.

Niall is also one of the four founders of this Pendemic project.

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