Verse > Anthologies > The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse > 309. The Black Christ
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Nicholson & Lee, eds.  The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse. 1917.
  
309. The Black Christ
By Arthur Shearly Cripps  (b. 1869)
  
(At Easter in South Africa)


PILATE and Caïaphas
They have brought this thing to pass—
That a Christ the Father gave,
Should be guest within a grave.
 
Church and State have willed to last        5
This tyranny not over-past;
His dark southern Brows around
They a wreath of briars have bound,
In His dark despiséd Hands
Writ in sores their writing stands.       10
 
By strait starlit ways I creep,
Caring while the careless sleep,
Bearing balms, and flow’rs to crown
That poor Head the stone holds down,
Through some crack or crevice dim       15
I would reach my sweets to Him.
 
Easter suns they rise and set,
But that stone is steadfast yet:
Past my lifting ’tis but I
When ’tis lifted would be nigh.       20
I believe, whate’er they say,
The sun shall dance an Easter Day,
And I that through thick twilight grope
With balms of faith, and flow’rs of hope,
Shall lift mine eyes and see that stone       25
Stir and shake, if not be gone.

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