Thursday, January 20, 2005

Stations of the cross


Even Jesus has packed his bags
He's bought a ticket for the train.
He's going away tomorrow,
And he's never coming back again.

I stand on the hill,
And look down on the town,
Feeling the wind blow
Fanning the fires in houses and cars.
My feet are nailed to the earth
I sway in the breeze, but cannot fall.

"Can I carry your cross for a while?
You look tired, and you've a long way to go today."

I lie by the river, burnt by the sun,
Stung by the grass,
Eyes dazed by unaccustomed light:
I belong to the night.

I saw the trees shake
I saw the lamp-posts shrug
I heard the bells cheering
I heard the hammer fall.

Dawn tore apart my curtains,
Woke me up by barging in;
I tried to doze but couldn't dream;
The blankets burned in sunlight.

By a cave a black bird was sitting on a stone
Calling out for anyone to hear
That he wished they hadn't come
And covered all the grass
With polished marble.


Someone said the dam was going to break
Someone else thought the bridge was down
Everyone knew a flood was coming
They knew they'd be washed away.

The newspapers had little to add
To the wild words scrawled on walls;
No-one had time to read,
The paper crumpled in the flame.

The stones that took so long to shape
Were struggling free of mortar;
The ground was shaking, toppling towers.

Sunset set the clouds alight,
The whole horizon burned;
Smoke was thick around the town; no-one could see.
They felt their way with tentative fingers
Past the fences and the rubble,
A weary, broken-stepped army,
Heading in defeat for the countryside.

There were no orders, no leaders;
The blind led the blind out to freedom.
They stumbled into barricades,
Fell down wells and ditches;
Moaned, and mumbled mutiny,
But marched on all the same.


On the second day, they huddled on the ridges,
Snatching sleep from cold fatigue,
Making hurried meals on the verges.

They looked down on the pillar of smoke,
Rising from the city, and wept for the past.

With eyes re-sighted, they hoped again
As they saw the fields and realised
That broken stones were not the end.
But as they moved, they idly snapped the saplings,
Pushed through gaps in ragged hedges.

By night they gathered on the mountain side.


In the dawn of the third day,
They felt a rumour in the air,
Of great things long-promised,
And greater yet to come.
Mist swayed with ghostly drunken dancers.

On the rocks there was no rest;
The bruised and weary travellers
Had nowhere else to go.

A hammer-blow of sudden light
Struck the crowds silent;
They waited, breathless, and stared at the sky.
Then they saw their saviour,
Glowing in fluorescent robes
And heard his voice, and they understood.


When he was gone, the light in their eyes
Faded, and they were blind again.

And those that sat, afraid to move, began to sing:
"Where have you gone,
You who led us here?
Why have you left us in such darkness?"

But Jesus was standing on the platform
With his ticket in his hand:
He's going away today,
And he's never coming back again.

Martin Locock 1984

1 comment:

Clifford Duffy said...
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