Thereafter time on Him became a slow,
Eventless draining and His body sagged
And ebbed and whitened in the drip of long,
Increasing silences that breathed and soaked
And mingled on His limbs until the flow
Pulled down from Him all semblance to a Man,
To make Him but a Wound that hung from nails.
He does not move nor murmur to the dark,
And now is gone beyond His hand had strained
Against the stake, and helpless, tried to brush
The dried ad stiffened cavern of His mouth,
He whispered, and they heard His human need.
A sponge upon a reed was thrust to Him,
And He who gave good wine had tasted sharp,
Astringent vinegars that were the last
Of favours that the earth could give to Him.
He wakened: He was tall again and taut
Against the throning of His cross; His head
Was crowned, and on Him majesty returned.
He drank the air and as a Man who sees
Far kingdoms over continents beyond
The sun, He traces with His eyes the dim
Receding circles of the world. He feels
The freedom of His hands, the swing, the lope
And striding of His feet; He feels His heart
Within Him beating to the endless stroke
Of Infinite, and swelling to subdue
The vast dimensions of forgotten time.
He stand, He towers, He is Adam come
Again to the ancient garden: He is man
And woman, He is Paul and Magdalen
The martyrs, housewives, sinners, and the saints.
And then His love is falling on the hills,
The roads, the little sea that had been dear.
He touches to the mountains where He spoke
His prayer, and He remembers Bread. His hands
Enclose again the smiling of a child.
They test the tumult of the fish in the nets.
He hears the echoed word He said to John
And to Martha: Peter keeps command against
The years. The cot and table that He knew
At Nazareth are not afar from Him.
And He remembers Joseph and the straw:
Then breath is great within Him. He is tall
And upward from His cross His voice ascends
To break confining spaces of the stars
And thrust His triumph past the stars.
‘It is finished!’
His head is sinking: peace is on His brow.
‘Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit.’
This sterile wood He carried to the hill
Has burgeoned with His meaning, and the Tree
Of good and evil, standing in all storm
And contradiction, waits the endless Spring.