Posted by: janetleigh | April 10, 2009



Thank God, this Friday.
For world Christians – and I
still cry – cross my heart.

Before the world was,
He is, with us now always.
So help me, God.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I’m pleased to include Golgatha here by Glenn Buttkus of Feel Free to Read because his poem is one that affects me in a profound way.   I was shaken the first time I read it, and cried.  I felt I was personally witnessing the Stations of the Cross as it happened back in the days Christ walked the Earth carrying the Cross He died on – for me – for All.  Thank you, Glenn, for making it as real as it can get.


I am the Christ,
he whispered,
and they laughed at him;
at his thin unshaven face,
at his long blood-caked hair.

But no one looked at his eyes
the way I did.
He could have told them,
if they would but listen.

He remembered
the cold castle walls
and the cockroaches that chewed his ankles.
The club and the chain,
and the many-tailed whip
that tore hunks of flesh from his body.
Roman guards that had beat him.
Thorns in his hair
tearing at his scalp.
Men who had feared him,
pummeled him with their fear,
Blackening his eyes;
those sad eyes
that could see

Herod was fat,
and loved his whores,
and his little boys.

Pilate was lean
and he splashed his hands
in a flowered urn as the people
cheered the thief Barabbas;
placing a straw basket on his head,
and carrying him on their shoulders,
a frozen smile on his lips,
his liberty barren.

It was a dirty amemic yellow dawn
as Jerusalem reeked of refuse.
He put the rugged cross upon his shoulder;
a huge thing
that smelled of creosote and tar and pitch;
fresh cut
brought from the dark forest,
bolted together with iron clasps.

The burden was heavy
and he fell under it.
the cobblestone bit into his raw knees.
the whip kissed his scourged back
as he stood up.

The sky appeared dead.
The narrow streets were open cesspools
in the dim light,
rubbish in rainbarrols,
gutters that rannith over
with filth.
People leaned out windows
and spat,
though some did not.

Come see the parade,
it is free,
like hunger.
and the people came,
an army of shopkeepers, drunkards, farmers, artisans,whores,
pick-pockets, thieves, cutthroats, lepers,
and rabbis,
huddling, steaming, and shuffling,
as dirty children played
tag with the rats.

Another painful stumble at the corner crossroads,
flat onto the hard street,
but this time gentle hands
reached out to him
and a negro named Simon stepped up
to help shoulder the burden,
and although conscripted,
he too
was whipped and beaten
as the procession continued.

His mother was there,
in that sea of whirling souls,
though he had missed her at the trial.

Porta Judiciarn,
a Roman gate,
stone and ornate,
marble and impressive.

Then Calvary at noon,
a sickly place,
stinking of carrion and death;
the place of skulls.
The crowd jeered and bellered and wept.
Dysmas and Gestas sweated,
watching the crosses being arranged on the ground.

The four corners of the world heaved,
black clouds raced for the hillock,
a pallid ring hid the desert sun;
noon and dark.

Pain hid the rising,
three sharp white sihouettes
against the indigo sky,
yet the iron spikes still hurt
as the flesh split, cracked, and crunched
in his hands and feet.

Jesus of Nazareth,
King of the Jews;
words on a hand-written wooden sign,
nailed lop-sided over his drooping head.

The spikes were thick and cold,
and blood flowed,
slowly trickling down,
spiraling around his body
and the cross.
Little red rivelets of life
in a rubious world;
becoming a steaming puddle
on the bare trodden ground.

I thirst, he cried,
and they sponged his swollen face
with vinegar;
while the black sky brooded,
his crown caught the light on a barb.
Whispered words with his father,
dice that rolled,
winners that did not win.

4:00, Good Friday,
April 7th,
30 A.D.;
a scratch on eternity,
a wound that never heals,
bleeding still,
becoming words that will not clot,
from a Christ,
and from all men suffering,
and not suffering.

My God,
My God,
Why have you forsaken me ?

Glenn Buttkus Easter 1966



  1. Goodness, girl, thank you for remembering my poem, and “resurrecting” it for this Easter. 1966 was a couple years ago now, when I wrote it. You are always so kind and resourceful when it comes to promoting other poets work–and when we click into your other blog, Poetmeister for Poets, then we see how busy you have been reviewing and linking so much poetry for us. I got into trouble posting some poetry by Sherwin Bitsui, and some others by Allison Hedge Coke. They both have strict guidelines about granting or not granting permission to post their work. So I had four dozen poems I had to delete.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s