wordsout by Godfrey Rust                                       The sailing of the ark  34 of 45  HOME    


These poems should have been about the cross, 
but who could do that? We, who wait here 

in its long shadow, trying to look up
and unable, knowing that to gaze directly at it 

will burn out the pupils of our self-esteem? It is not
finished: that face (R S Thomas said it) is "staring 

as over twenty centuries it has stared,
from unfathomable darkness into unfathomable light", 

while we between both look on, helpless
like children in Dickens, bewildered heirs 

to some great estate, watching
the tragic tale unfold, knowing 

our future joy depends on this transaction
in whose genesis we are somehow implicated.

“staring as over twenty centuries...” From R S Thomas’ sequence “Crucifixion” from the book Counterpoint.

children in Dickens I was thinking specifically of the “wards in Jarndyce” in Bleak House.