Jesus on the Cross with Heavenly Sky Above



Cheering his doom


Tattooed and angry,

drunk or hung-over,

violent and frothing,

through the streets of Jerusalem

they called out

rude names and screamed

‘crucify him!’


It was sweet to see the healer,

the hypocrite, the charlatan

brought to a just end.

But any bloodshed was

better than boredom,

or the quiet hell of guilt.


And behind them, arms crossed

over fresh, clean robes,

were the sober

the good and proper who,

also, shouted or whispered

(those whispers were venom)

‘it’s a good thing too,

a trouble-make he is;’

terrified, all of them, that the man’s

words were a threat to their dusty,

ages-old ease,

or might awaken their numb souls,

so long free of nagging prophets.


Yet it was neither Jew nor Roman,

barbarian, Scythian, slave, or free,

male or female who lined the streets

where spit-covered palm fronds,

one week old,

decayed beneath

his bloody feet.


It was not Protestant or Catholic,

not Orthodox or Pagan,

not Muslim or Buddhist or Hindu

or even atheist.


It was I, me, mine, us,

who loved him first,

then found hate more natural than

the higher, harder nature he offered.

God indeed!


And we cheered (and cringed) as the scourge flew

and the flesh flew and the fists

and hammers fell hard,

and the thorns made blood into wine,

while nails

sank into those carpenter’s

holy hands

(leaving holes for future doubters),

and a spear opened a fountain

of baptismal fluid on the hillside.


And on that third day, well,

who saw that coming?


Except him, of course.

He forgave our ignorant

complicity from his

transient throne of cross-beams.


Blind, helpless fools.

In our murder, we merely

let him save us.


Edwin Leap, 2014


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