The accompany illustration was drawn in April 2021 as a meditation on the humiliation and brutalization of Christ, modeled after the Crucifix Gallino — a nude polychromed corpus of limewood — dating from 1495 and attributed to Michelangelo.
Hewn timber beams from heart of sap-bled pine
Laid out in the anticipation of that crime,
Which in its culmination wrought in death,
Debases full the bondage of our debt.
Flayed out and spat upon, in trumpery decked,
The accusèd wracked and in reprisal wrecked,
For mere the want of love engendered full,
Stripped of humanity, the victim’s toll
Submitted to the gate-guard of the whole,
Entered the redempt’ry sacrificial rôle
Excised by nature, by will dispossessed,
Eternal promise by same will suppressed.
Grace offered and denied, a litany refrain,
In every era this the godhead’s pain —
Undone by act of clement goodness just,
To save as needed saved, disjointed dust.
Who like a common debtor took the debt,
And like a slave to labor did submit,
And like mere man in flesh was thusly shroud,
By condecension humble, for worthless proud.
Which love hanged on a tree today to die,
On mount of rot and bone, ’neath blackened sky.
Erected as a thespian stages plays,
The mob in bloodthirst there to fix their gaze
Upon the gory scene, that grisly dance —
The beams, the earth, the nails, the jeers, the lance.
Forsaken, no, for those as dust shall bow,
Posterity shall serve, recount, and show,
Last breath, tetelestai, last spirit pull,
So billed, the ledger-entry: Paid in full.
Deposed, rests nestled near the mother’s rib,
Cold, bludgeoned face yeilds to then purpled lip.
The crowds disperse, the curtain call is made,
Last final hope of all is smitten, slayed,
Enwrapped and spiced upon a slab is laid,
The portal shut as evening sun-rays fade.
Unknown the payment tendered, and so adjourn,
Unconscious of impending triumph and return.