16 March 2012

Poems for Lent (21): ‘Holy Cross,’ by Sir Shane Leslie

‘It is the bare and leafless Tree ...’ (Sir Shane Leslie) ... a bare and leafless tree in the grounds of the Lough Erne Resort, Co Fermanagh (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

We are only three weeks from Good Friday, and my choice of a Poem for Lent this Friday is another poem by Sir Shane Leslie (1885-1971) of Castle Leslie, Co Monaghan, whose ‘Forest Song’ I selected on Thursday of last week.

Holy Cross, by Sir Shane Leslie

It is the bare and leafless Tree
Our sins once sowed on Calvary,
And mockers digged with trembling knee –
Holy Cross.

It is the dead impitying Wood,
That like a crimson pillar stood,
Where none unmoved unweeping could —
Holy Cross.

O fearful sight foretold to man,
The cloven spar, the sacred span,
Whence God’s atoning Blood once ran —
Holy Cross.

It is the Holy Gibbet Tree,
All stained with Love’s last agony
And marked with awful mystery —
Holy Cross.

What stains are these incarnadine,
What scars are these more red than wine
Of more than human Passion sign?
Holy Cross.

It is the sunless stricken Tree,
Upon whose branches sore to see
O mystery, died One of Three —
Holy Cross.

What storm swept o’er its boughs that day,
When God to God did sorely pray.
And human guilt ebbed slow away —
Holy Cross.

When earth shall smoke and sun shall flee,
Alone unmoved o’er sinking sea
Shall stand one all-redeeming Tree —
Holy Cross.

Canon Patrick Comerford is Lecturer in Anglicanism and Liturgy, the Church of Ireland Theological Institute, and a canon of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.


Gigi said...

I hadn't heard "Holy Cross" before - how simple and how moving.
Thanks x

Renate, Dover DE said...

so very beautiful, glad I found this source of inspiration!