Friday, 2 March 2007

I Jesus is Condemned to Death

Man and man
are standing in the
white stone and high
columns of palaces.

Silence and frustration
hanging as the dust in
warm air circulates.

Questions about truth
are soft curls of
sunlight and silence,

and somewhere in the years
beyond this room and this judgement,

a million voices speak

with him

of injustice

in a blinding white silence.

II Jesus is Given His Cross

and splinter
and blood.

Cracked grain and tight knot
to be worked and eased
like a muscle strung in pain

and butting against rough wood.
Rough hewn it will weigh down
a line of vertebrae

and twist through years
into precious metals,
mother of pearl, soft
engraving and small pendant.

Dead wood will flower
and flow like the water
drawn on its grain.

and splinter
and blood.

III Jesus Falls For The First Time

It is the cross which
presses him. Between the
wood and the earth

where the view is
sandal-straps and dog paws
he is fallen.

They say,

'O how the mighty are fallen'.

But all those not mighty
now and then know this view.

'He will bring down the mighty
from their thrones'
to share this view

of sandal-straps and dog paws

pressed by wood.

IV Jesus Meets His Mother

Even while the skin
splinters and blood...

There are eddies
like wood grain whirls
in the path;

softer spaces where
what is right and
what is wrong

meet and tumble each other
to tears on the faces
of mothers, brothers,
fathers, sisters...

So close that breath
passes shame and hurt
between people who
can't not love

despite the right.

Spaces where 'what is right'
is hated.

V Simon of Cyrene

There is a crowd
like any crowd confused.

Dark fascinations on
a frieze of faces caught
at a moment they do not know

will be remembered.

(You there!
Did you know that
a million million
will imagine they
are with you now...

The black man from Cyrene
does not know
but feels the bite
of splinter and spear point.

And who is the soldier?
And who is Simon?
And where are the roots
of that dark fascination
growing from a twisted back
like black wood.

VI Veronica Wipes The Face of Jesus

Woman bursts in...

Following with balled fists clutching
and courage twisted into a rag of knots

till something gives
and woman bursts in...

Where every sensation was
sting and gravel and splinter

something gives
and there is a soft rag.

and then there is a legend...
of a moment.

Then even the pattern
of sweat is revered
for it is the geometry
of compassion and,
though crumpled,
it has the shape of an example.

It is the cool touch
of fresh water on salt
when something gives and bursts in...

VII Jesus Falls For The Second Time

Is it the world tips
or the pitch of liquid
in a dizzied ear?

The sickening spin
and the sudden
of grip

There must be tears
down here where the view
is sandal-straps
and calloused toes
and dog's paws and
tall, tall people
who rise above and seem complete.

God has crumpled
to a bag of stick limbs
and is empty as dust.
There must be tears down here.

This is a fall
that will shake the world.

VIII Jesus Meets The Women of Jerusalem

Here are the tears...

Here is a clutch of weeping
a small group of sobbing

and there is a crowd
like any crowd, confused.

There is anger left
beyond the exhaustion
to cry out, 'don't cry,
cry out instead

against everything that is coming
cry out against the wind.
You might as well.

I will not have you
make my death a private grief'

IX Jesus Falls For The Third Time

Down and down
to where toenails
are hard yellow
and breath is an intake of dirt
and where the gutters
run damp and stinking at noon.

Where the sun has gone:
an eclipse of legs and hem lines.

Even the fascinated wince,
even their intake of breath
stutters as body and bloodied
wood crack heavy to the grit.

Light twists and heaven is,
for only a moment, dark.

And the moment stretches
and it will always be there
in the memory of angels.

X Jesus is Stripped

Unaccustomed air
and gulping
and a space in the crowd.

The man is all skin.
Rude, raw,
as unconcerned as famine,
as thin as compassion.

(A million million look away)

While ribs heave
like the rungs
of a ladder
to exhaustion
and ecstasy.

Dice roll…

XI Jesus is Nailed to The Cross

Iron between tendons.
Gristle and wood grain
knotting into

and a sickening heave
spins everything upright
into clear air
and exposure.

The sun is white.

The pain is white.

White like silence
that begins to flow
through centuries
and finally God knows
what it is for a man
to create

From now on it is a shared creation.

XII Jesus Dies

High up where the crows stand
on the wooden frame the view is wide.

You might have thought
that it was dark here at the edge of death,

here where the soul tucks
itself into God: here where
the crows tuck long bills
under their wings.

In fact, there is an oily rainbow
on the edge of death just as
there is a promise
in the plumage of crows.

XIII Jesus is Taken Down From The Cross

Hard to hold for lightness,
floating to the ground in the
care of arms; guided like a feather

to rest:

the body.

Free from all weight, finally,
laid like a soft rag on the
ground here is the final proof

of God:

a body.

XIV - Jesus is Laid in The Tomb

Settling to ground
not falling.
There is a tenderness
in return to the round, warm,
dark stone of the earth’s belly.

Hands that held magma,
moulded planets, raised mountains
and broke bread

are tender and dry
and dead like stone.

And because of the power
contained in even his dead hands

there is a sense of waiting…