Coronation (Lent Poems 17)

Then, barely strength enough in sinews to
keep swollen legs taut for standing,
lacerations up and down his beaten back,
cuts deep like caverns along his spine,
neck too torn to lift his head,
he was then crowned,
thorns turned inward on his brow,
nails hammered in to hands and feet,
a way of raising, lifting high,
for all to see, the one here crowned
with thorns and scorn, the one here called
King of the Jews,
and now his guards fight to defend
his robes, while governor and priests
debate the wording of his formal name
and title, and he, the lifted one, moans
and lifts his chest to breath, to groan:
I am thirsty.
His cup-bearer lifts some wine
upon a sceptre-sponge up to his lips;
acid burns in cracks and chafes,
the deep ravines of aching grace.
One final upwards groan to breathe;
The guards draw lots.

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