Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A.D. 33


Christ at the Column, by Caravaggio (1607)

GOOD FRIDAY, A.D. 33

Mother, why are people crowding now and staring?
Child, it is a malefactor goes to His doom,
To the high hill of Calvary He's faring,
And the people pressing and pushing to make room
Lest they miss the sight to come.

Oh, the poor malefactor, heavy is His load!
Now He falls beneath it and they goad Him on.
Sure the road to Calvary's a steep up-hill road --
Is there none to help Him with His Cross -- not one?
Must He bear it all alone?

Here is a country boy with business in the city,
Smelling of the cattle's breath and the sweet hay;
Now they bid him lift the Cross, so they have some pity:
Child, they fear the malefactor dies on the way
And robs them of their play.

Has He no friends then, no father nor mother,
None to wipe the sweat away nor pity His fate?
There's a woman weeping and there's none to soothe her:
Child, it is well the seducer expiate
His crimes that are so great.

Mother, did I dream He once bent above me,
This poor seducer with the thorn-crowned head,
His hands on my hair and His eyes seemed to love me?
Suffer little children to come to Me, He said --
His hair, his brows drip red.

Hurrying through Jerusalem on business or pleasure
People hardly pause to see Him go to His death
Whom they held five days ago more than a King's treasure,
Shouting Hosannas, flinging many a wreath
For this Jesus of Nazareth.

-- Katharine Tynan (1918)

4 comments:

crystal said...

Powerful painting, and poem too.

Jeff said...

Thanks Crystal. I've never seen a Caravaggio I didn't like.

I don't know much about Katharine Tynan, but she seems like a poet worth looking into.

Garpu the Fork said...

Happy Easter, if you're not around!

Jeff said...

Happy Easter, Jen!