His knees were twisted
drawn athwart the body, quiveringalong the black beam laid upon the earth.
He was not still. They held Him, held Him there,
until the long first spasms died, and they
could tighten cords again and stretch His arm,
down to the hand that was not nailed, and pry
the fingers open. She could see. And then
the sound again! The iron, beating iron,
iron beating, and the twist and squirm
and shaken answering in all His form
that lay beneath them. He was nailed in hands.
Forever now. Past restoration. Nailed,
and nailed, and nailed. His hands that could not fall,
nor open. She could see them. Shut in iron,
useless, shattered in two pegs for hanging
She saw them rise and stand aside to look
on Him. Aye, He was nailed. He would not move
much from the brace He made against the wood.
They'd set Him well, and He was shod and gloved
with iron on His feet and on His hands
for the remaining time He might endure.
They were assured of that. And one of them
stooped down to post a writing over Him
that He might keep His claim and keep His crime.
She did not turnaway. The one thing that we know of her
is this: she did not turn away, not fail
before Him for an instant. It is not
recorded that she wept or asked a pity.
It has not been writ of her she languished,
crushed and broken, on a drawing length
of hours when He stared above their heads,
and felt His warm blood spurting at the nails.
She stood beside His cross. John tells us that.
She stood, and spoke no word. And He could find
her there, unflinching, statured by the long
preparing —grown to this— and strong enough
to meet His last need and to wear her last
She was His mother.What she'd given Him was broken now,
and scourged, and spiked upon a beam; and soon
He'd be bereft of Bethlehem, and she
would see her life fade out of Him, and all
her giving move to darkness and an end.
He was her birth, but now no angels came,
nor shepherds climbed to find Him at her hands.
They'd gone away. But she'd not gone away.
She still was His —to bear Him unto death.
This was not time as she had waited Him,
and felt Him move within her as a burden
quickening to nearer infancy,
to lift her soul to awe and make of time
but sheltered song and quiet virgin prayer.
She was not trembling now in fragile gladness,
waiting life and dreaming to a day
when she might hold Him breathing at her breast.
He hung there, over her, outstretched, and stiffened
streaked in running red, and terrible
for wounds. His feet were held, and agonies
of torsion moving down His body ended
helplessly. And she was waiting Him.
Oh, not the limpid song and eager praise,
oh, not for cries that living should be His:
she was a woman, cryless, wrapped in time
that in this dark expectancy would give
Him to His death.
John W. Lynch, A Woman Wrapped in Silence, p. 225f; 229-231