The Martyrdom

Led to a hillside outside city walls for execution,
Making the thorn in their side become the thorns on his head
Until a sword pierces his mother’s heart and the spear his side
And he’s carried by women to un-ceremonial burial
Still longing for messianic salvation that will end all conflict.
 

     
     Slain on the steps by state-sponsored assassins
     Stabbed by knights of the realm acting on royal suggestion,
     Then fleeing into the darkness of night outside the cathedral,
     Leaving his blood to coagulate in the nation’s mourning
     For one who would soon become a means of their healing.
 

     Brigands respond resolute with religious fervour
     Alleging compassion to be an underhand weapon
     For conversion in the remote hills of tribal India,
     So father and sons are burnt as though at the stake
     Leaving a family to find life without bitterness in the midst of grief.
 

Fraudster-organised murder with collusive plotting
When the desire for self-aggrandizement and corrupt power-play
Are confronted by unflinching adherence to the values of the kingdom
Until a killer’s bullet saps life out of a headquarters corridor
And we’re challenged to forgive in the wake of prevailing injustice.
 
Envy multiplies anger as fear generates hatred
So that nails, blades and bullets become instruments of death
And we’re left with unanswered and unanswerable questions,
Awaiting the ultimate revelation of truth beyond cover-ups.
Meanwhile their sanctified courage inspires commitment.

October 2011
 

On visiting ‘The Martyrdom’ and the Chapel of Saints and Martyrs of Our Own Time, Canterbury Cathedral, (the photograph above) with thoughts of Thomas Becket, Graham Staines and Bo Brekke.
 
Click here for photographs: Canterbury Cathedral