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April 10, 2020

There was a time when writing a poem or song on Good Friday was an annual event. This is one. (Apologies for the formatting – I haven’t got a grip on the changes yet.)

GOOD FRIDAY NIGHT, 1978

                (Easter Sunday too far away)

The walls are hewn inside the hill –

granite, veined with quartz,

and roughly marked with picks.

The floor too is rough, uneven,

falling just a little inch too close

to give a tallish man the room

to stand

                and breath

together.

The air is gloomy with the stink of death,

heavy with the kicked-up dust

that soon will join the floor

                                                     again.

There he lies –

a shrouded, shapeless corpse.

If you could see beneath the cloth:

the alabaster cheeks that dry the grimy blood;

the matted hair that’s clotted

on a tattered skull;

the beard, rustling in the silence;

the filthy neck that’s stiffened now.

All his bloodied body

signs his wretched death.

Without,

walled in by stone and air,

the Romans play at dice in silence,

                or murmur in the firelight.

He’s dead.

It doesn’t make a scrap of sense.

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