We dare not watch.
If we see what they are doing to him,
our imaginations will be scarred for ever.
As it is, we know too well what terrible cruelty humankind
is capable of inflicting.
We know the history of humanity runs red
with the blood of the innocent
and resounds with the screams of the suffering.
Most of us have never perpetrated
evil of this nature
but, when civilisation looses its restraint,
we know how readily barbarity
reconfigures even those noted for living gently.
We dare not watch but we cannot help but hear.
There is nothing to muffle the hammer’s blows,
reverberating through the centuries,
as nails are driven through flesh into hard wood.
No screams, no imprecations –
his lips merely writhe
with silent words of forgiveness.
Although we cannot believe we would ever deal
such cruelty ourselves,
humankind, too often, is anything but kindly.
Politicians in palaces dream of genocide, sipping their morning coffee.
Youths from one patch will slice vengeance off the boy who slips across their line.
Husbands and wives put their feet up, plotting domestic malice.
Sweet Christ, save us from ourselves.
Sweet Christ, let the darkness of our souls die with you.
Sweet Christ, if you do not die, all hope of saving humankind is dead.
Jesus, we take what you give us: the gift of your life.
The hammer sits in our hands.
The nails are held straight between our fingers.
We need your death so we might live.
We did not know it would be this terrible.