The twelfth station: Jesus dies on the cross

The centurion at the foot of the cross is an ambiguous figure. He offers – at least in Mark’s gospel – some sort of recognition. But of what? Bravery, nobility, something more transcendent? I’m not sure either of Mark’s intent, or my reading of the story, and so, while still holding on to that ambiguity, I wanted to make the centurion the voice of my twelfth station. I’m not sure if this is the same centurion as sonnets two and three, but I think so.

XII. Jesus dies on the cross (The centurion’s story)

Among the routine execution days
some come back more vividly than others.
Such was this. A midday when the sun’s rays
went black, shrouding the man and his mother’s

tears in a darkening painful embrace
of love and grief. His thoughts for her and hers
for him, etched in running shade on her face.
I remember, in the face of the slurs,

how stripped, nailed, and hung to public display,
he died as one who seemed undefeated,
his final breath a ringing shout, a play
of the dice with death in which he cheated.

I walk now in the shadow of that cross,
my work in ashes, honour turned to dross.

Previously in this series

I. Jesus is condemned to death (Pilate’s story)
II. Jesus takes up his cross (The centurion’s lot, part 1)
III. Jesus falls for the first time (The centurion’s lot, part 2).
IV. Jesus meets his mother – Mary’s misery
V. Simon of Cyrene’s story
VI. Veronica’s veil: the sixth sonnet.
VII. Jesus falls again: a bystander’s take.
VIII. Meeting the mourners: the eighth station.
IX. The ninth station, the third fall.
X. It’s not personal, just business.
XI. Another inimical voice: the eleventh station

By Doug

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.