Paschal Meditation (I)

Sun-bleached sky looks down on swollen crowd
        gathered round a spectacle of lash├ęd, tortured flesh
    Grit and blood amidst the swirling straps
        tearing sinews, hewing, rending, stripping skin from bone

Men and women hide in terror, shamed,
        wishing for the future they'd imagined—glorious
    Nothing like the horror of this day
        lost to vicious, hostile, angry, men with wicked hearts

Dusty road and twisted beam weigh down
        broken flesh of righteous, gentle man condemned by sin
    Sin his broken flesh did never taste
        sin his broken flesh now bears so sin may fully die

Searing sun undimmed by cloud or shade 
        scorches Judah's crowned, triumphant savior as he hangs
    Crowned with thorns, humanity his robe
        Sacrificial justice nails salvation to a tree

And then ended all at once with lung-torn cry
        heralded by storm of shaking earth and opened tombs
    Darkness swelling o'er the land and blotting out the light
        finished, done, concluded, temple curtain rent and torn

Something, someone died this day, and changed the world—
        for good, somehow, perhaps, our hearts would wish to say,
    But hours-long unnat'ral gloom and lifeless corpse
        our long untrammeled hopes do now restrain.