Friday, 25 March 2016

Good Friday


Stormy sunset by Beren Hartless
 There is a Scottish legend that the cross of Christ was made from wood from an aspen tree. No Crofter will have aspen wood handles on his plough or his farming implements, and no fisherman will have an aspen wood mast or fishing tools. Even today the pendulous leaves of the aspen shake for shame.

The book of Hebrews tells us that the Son of God sustains all things by his powerful word and we read in the gospel of Matthew that as the Saviour died, the whole of creation shuddered.

In this poem, creation is given a voice.

1.       I am the Thorn

Torn from the bare earth,
wrenched from my roots,
I was broken and bent.
Twisted into a circlet, 
strained and stressed beyond belief,
stabbing all who strike my slender spines.
I would defend you, Lord, with my life.
Gladly I crown your brow.
Sadly I pierce your skin.
They used me to mock you,
the failed King of the Jews.

The victor in the games wears a diadem of laurel.
You have only me to wreathe your tortured brow.
But even the Thorn can blossom.
Tomorrow, a white flower will spring where your precious drops of blood have lain.
Discarded, I will bear mute testimony to your kingly reign.

2.       I am the wood

Hewn from the forest,
seasoned and shaped in the carpenter’s shed,
Master, you took and trimmed trees like me.
Lovingly, you stroked the grain,
Fashioning the wood with hands human and divine,
The Creator re-creating.
Now all I can do is to tear into your sides.
I wish your carpenter hands could have planed me
and sanded off the rough edges.
I hate wounding your flayed skin
with my slashing splinters.

Master of the universe,
I am your throne.
But this throne is gilded with pain
and stained with gore.

3.       I am the iron

Once, Lord, you took me and held me.
I was a tool in your hand.
I was the iron chisel you worked the wood with.
Then, I was your friend and companion,
watching Joseph teach you to make and carve useful things for people to enjoy,
working alongside you in your labour of creation.
Now I am useless and worse than useless. 
My every atom shrieks in protest
as I am hammered home,
nailing your hands and feet to the wood.

Now I am breaking and tearing you,
but you still hold and unfold me
in your broken flesh and splintered bone.

“Father, forgive them - they know not what they do.”

4.       I am the man

I am the soldier, the traitor, false friend.
I am the hater.
I laid the wood on his shoulders,
nailed his hands,
stripped him and scourged him,
mocked with the rest.

Mine are the hands which crushed the thorn upon Christ’s brow.
Mine are the hands which hung him high on the tree.
Mine are the hands which hammered home the nails of iron.

"Father, forgive."

B. I. Hartless






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