Stations of The Cross 2010

The Body of Jesus Is Taken down from The Cross


of spirit, empty of blood,
some Pharisees say we shall all rise at the end of time
but we are more practical;
only our lives of devotion and sacrifice - forgive
the phrase -
are of 'any use' to our God.
He, who cured the sick and raised the dead,
who calmed the winds and ruled the fish,
who cheered the crowds,
is nothing.
As for The Kingdom he foresaw, who is to carry on?
So much of what he said was enigmatic,
even provisional,
as if he knew something of himself beyond the normal,
but we are broken,
we are like the leaves that crackle on the Autumn fire,
we are preparing to go into exile,
we have resiled from the immortal.
From being the purest person ever known
he is now unclean;
who shall carry him
once the soldiers make him over?
We will not choose, we will not isolate
but all will share in his contamination,
the last touch of what changed us forever,
in the hope that we may hang onto something,
in the hope that something startling will change within us;
in the hope that we will realise something spectacular
in what he said to us.
Mary begins to cry,
then stops,
singing something half-way between a dirge
and a lullaby
as we lay the broken body in her arms.
Strange bread to feed a mother,
the son she once fed.


emptied as Simeon foretold,
a light to the Gentiles beckoning.
Ecce Homo,
the man who would be king,
is taken from his place on high
and laid on earth.
I watch them as they wait for permission
to take charge of the corpse,
wanting to get on, frightened of the unnatural dark,
of the Romans, the Priests and of Passover coming on.
Joseph arrives with an instruction
and Nicodemus, for once, moves out of the shadows.
I watch them carry me who carried them
in a slightly hurried procession;
my Chosen People have never had a taste for death as a culmination.
And then I see the whole world from Adam to the end,
each person born to live forever
in the Father's love;
how this shall be I do not know,
although I am the means.
"The Word made flesh"
always was a mystery to me
and now I am in limbo,
looking down,
waiting for something to happen.
They walk, slightly awkwardly,
although I weigh next to nothing,
into a tiny garden,
so close to but different from the dump of Golgotha.
John looks at my mother,
carefully closing the gate,
at once achieving tidiness and privacy.
A slave appears with a cask of embalming unguent
and I suddenly cease to be an object of pity
but of intense attention
which temporarily drives away the heart's cold
but I see it creeping back,
remembering Simeon;
and I long to be able to say something
but the God that comes from timelessness into time
bides my time.