Stations of The Cross 2010

Jesus Falls A Third Time


A clot detaches, freeing the blood
which streams into my half closed eyes.
I sprawl across the cutting stones
into the mud
and lie momentarily numb.
O darkness, come.
I see the sun, flashing across the lake,
and the birds in the boat's wake
and silver fish in the pebbles;
and gaily coloured shawls hung out to dry;
and the dull glow of the grapes.
And amid the clash of colour and the infinite variety of perspective,
from the mountain to a peddlar's bead,
I see a drab man sitting, drained of vibrancy.
As I walk towards him he turns his head away
with an exaggerated twist.
"Is that," he says, "Jesus of Nazareth?"
"Yes, but do not worry yourself, old man,
the master is in a hurry
to tell a story
of how the poor shall be set free."
"But how true can it be if it doesn't include me?"
"A cheeky fellow," says Peter, almost brutally.
"The story can wait a moment.
I suppose you want to see?"
"Indeed I do.
I have heard of so many wonders,
I believe in you."
"Well, let us slip behind these bales and see
what we can do."
As he half shouts for joy I shout in pain,
another blow has fallen and my sight returns.
My eyes ache and the blood burns;
but the sharp field has shrunk into a dull point,
into an overwhelming idea,
to stand, to reach, to leave the pain behind,
to escape into the inward mind.


O world grown dim,
O hallowed, empty space
where sight saw the crooked, painful way,
free now to wander.
Stone-struck, I to kneel and say: "Father,
I offer you this final, kneeling prayer
to give me strength.
We are almost there."
I cannot help recalling the wrangling over the blind man
in the Temple, treated as if he had sinned,
an icon of evil,
all the hearings and swearings
and notaries and genealogies,
as if they could not recognise the good behind the healing.
This is why I am kneeling;
to banish the parched, adversarial law
and usher love's triumph through the Temple door.
They have known, since I overturned the tables,
what this would mean,
the end of the power,
the end of the machine,
the outbreak of innocence,
the freedom from duress;
I kneel for love here
as I have knelt before them in their holy fortress.
I think of the blindness of the blind man, and the blindness of the inquisition
and the blindness taught into so many good people;
and I remember Cousin John always asking:
"What did you come out to see?"
It was always about seeing.
Blindness is a peculiar curse
which is why I love those who stumble,
yet still follow;
and why I rest, blind now,
better to see the final triumph of my last journey.
O world grown dim,
let light flow from my core,
to lead where I am crowned for evermore.