Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

The author of the following Good Friday poem, which first appeared in the newspaper in 1976, is retired New Hampshire Union Leader copy editor Barry Palmer.

The air hangs heavy
My heart stands still
They gather all around me
And hasten for the kill.

They tear my garments from me
Undraped here I stand
While they prepare to crucify
The bleeding Son of Man.

It's hard for me to understand
Or realize just why
My death is made a mockery
Which makes my mother cry.

When just last week I spoke of peace
And everlasting love,
Apparently to deafened ears
And darkened skies above.

It was just last night I prayed,
Father, if the will be thine,
Take away this chalice . . .
This bleeding cup of mine.

But yet, not as I will
But as Thy will be done.
And when pain shot through my heart,
I knew my hour had come.

A noisy crowd shatters the night;
My heart begins to race;
And then a traitors lips
Plant a kiss upon my face.

They scourged me at a pillar
And whipped me till I bled,
But this was just a taste
Of the agony ahead.

A wreath of thorns upon my head;
I ached with every breath;
I went before the multitude
They sentenced me to death.

A cross I had to carry,
The splinters tore my skin.
The treacherous road to Calvary
Was just now to begin.

The mid-day sun took its toll;
My knees buckled and gave way.
My heart was beating very fast
As on the ground I lay.

My head began to spin around
And I felt the blistering heat.
I could not go on, and once again
Fell . . . at my mother's feet.

I looked up at her tear-stained face
And even though she tried
To hold back the emotion,
She looked at me and cried.

I stumbled again and fell once more
As time seemed to stand still.
Bruised and bleeding, I arrived
At the sacrificial hill.

And now I stand here naked;
Tormented by seething pain,
While nails are driven through my flesh.
And piercing every vein.

The agony is unbearable
As spikes drive through the bone;
And they nail me to the cross
To suffer all alone.

I now look down from my cross
And see the brutal few.
Father, please forgive them.
They know not what they do.

To my right and to my left
The two thieves I behold.
One this day finds Paradise
But the other heart is cold.

Below me I can dimly see
My mother so divine,
Trying hard to hold back tears
As I try to hold back mine.

Woman, behold your Son.
It hurts you, that I know.
I can see the torment in your eyes
As tears begin to flow.

Upon my robe they cast their lots
To see who gets it first.
My whispered word goes unheard
As I cry to them, I thirst.

My arms are getting weary,
And I am numb with pain;
The aching and the throbbing
Seem impossible to retain.

Now I hang here all alone
For all the world to see;
My heart cries out, My God, My God,
Why hast thou forsaken me?

I see the sky above grow dark,
And not a sound I hear,
And I know deep inside my heart
That the end is near.

To Thy hands I commend my spirit.
Father, take Thy Son.
I see the light of life go out.
Father . . . it is done.

And the good news is in 3 days, He arose!

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