Padraic Colum

(8 December 1881 – 11 January 1972 / County Longford)

Verses For Alfeo Faggi's Stations Of The Cross - Poem by Padraic Colum

I
HERE Pilate's Court is:
None may clatter nor call
Where the Wolf giving suck
To the Twins glares on all
'Strip Him and scourge Him
Till flesh shows the blood,
And afterwards nail Him
On cross of wood.'
O Lord
Silence in us the condemning word!

II
Heaven witnesseth, but only in the heart
Is any aid:
'They know not what they do,' and then on Him
The Cross is laid
The Cross that's wide and long enough to bear
His flesh and bone:
A spectacle unto the crowded way,
The Man goes on.
The Father's will
May we know also, and may we fulfil!

III
Beneath the load
The knees quail;
The heart pants,
The joints fail;
Almost the bones break;
He faints, his breath being loss;
He sinks beneath the Cross!
May we
Be mindful of this road to Calvary!

IV
Jesus His Mother meets:
She looks on Him and sees
The Saviour in Her Son:
The Angel's word comes back:
Within her heart she says,
'Unto me let this be done!'
Still is she full of grace.
By us, too, be it won
The grace that brings us revelation!

V
'If He should die upon the road
That were a turn of ill:
'Tis fixed the Crucifixion be
Upon that skull-shaped hill.
Ho, man who looks with pity on
The Man we take to death
Bear you the Cross I order it
Until He wins back breath.'
We take
Our hearts being moved, the Cross up for Thy sake!

VI
Down to her face His face He bends:
The helper she, the heartner:
His image in her cloth He leaves;
He leaves it, too, to all like her
Who serve within a little room,
But run to help outside the door,
Who mend and brighten needed things:
He leaves it to good hearts, the Poor!
May we, too, wait,
Like her, and help, and be compassionate!

VII
The Spirit is willing aye,
But weak the flesh put on;
Deadly the Cross's weight;
He stumbles on a stone,
And lies upon the road,
Seeing His Body's blood.
May we
Forget not in these times that agony!

VIII
Heavy the Cross is:
He drags beneath its beam,
Yet, Women of Jerusalem,
Weep not for Him:
Weep for your children, rather,
For that they cannot see
The true Son of David,
The Saviour, shown ye.
O Lord,
Also to us say the revealing word!

IX
The skull-shaped hill is near:
The earth and heaven are bare
Of light, and sight, and sound;
He falls upon the ground,
Knowing that journey's end
Without one to befriend.
O Lord
Bring us to Life according to Thy word!

X
'Wouldst have me share this cloth,
Dividing it with sword?
Nay, fellow, we will keep it whole,
But hearken to my word:
Behind the Cross the dice
We'll throw; who wins will get
What's high enough in price
To pay a tavern debt.'
The vesture that makes one with Thee our soul,
May we keep whole!

XI
'This thong, I know, will last;
Draw out the arm and make it fast;
Through hand and board with strength
Drive the nail of mickle length.
Now, King of the Jews, in the sun,
Gape, for our work is done.'
God send
That our labours have no evil end!

XII
The birds are flying home,
Now darkened is the sky,
And He hath given up
With that great bitter cry
The ghost, and on the Cross
(His Mother stays by it),
The title rightly His,
KING is writ.
May we draw near
Considering in our hearts what Man is here!

XIII
Though pitiful it is to see
The wounds, the broken Body,
(The Body of Him that was
As fair as lily of the grass!)
Though the brow with thorns is riven,
And a spear through the side is driven,
It was all for our healing done,
Mother, by thy Son!
May we
This Body in its glory come to see!

XIV
Now in the tomb is laid
Who had neither house nor hall,
Who in the wide world walked,
And talked with one and all;
Who told the sparrow's worth,
The lily's praises said,
Who kept wakeful in the garden
Now in the tomb is laid.
His Spirit still doth move
On a new way of love!

L'ENVOI
Prince, by thine own darkened hour,
Live within me, heart and brain;
Let my hands not slip the rein!
Ah, how long ago the hour
Since a comrade rode with me:
Now, a moment, let me see
Thyself, lonely in the dark,
Perfect, without wound nor mark!


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Poem Edited: Thursday, December 8, 2011


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