shadows born of morning light
Stretch forth from city walls
And touch creation like the shroud
Of those whom death befalls.
No bird dares add a joyous note
To sorrows in the air,
Or interrupt this day of rest
For those still unaware.
There, just beyond the southwest gate,
Gehenna cloaks its shame
With embers hot enough to smoke
Yet not enough to flame.
Behold! a wagon creaks and groans
Along the earthen roadó
A pair of hungry oxen strain
Against their heavy load.
Six Roman soldiers flank the cart
Heaped high with man's debrisó
What rubbish borne of earthly toil,
Needs guarding by decree?
Two rugged timbers, short and long,
Onto the coals are tossedó
Each crudely notched by human hands,
As if once nailed and crossed.
But lo! the flames refuse to claim
The testaments of wood,
Yet swiftly scorch the splintered edge
Of things less understood.
Within the holes where iron nails
Had once been driven deep,
A blush of life begins to spread
From stains where life did seep.
Amid the smoke, six blossoms bloom
Upon a creeping vine,
Their centers pure as virgin bread
And petals red as wine.
Along the splintered beams they climb
Until their tendrils cling
Around a plaque which bears the name
Of an eternal King.
... From high atop the city wall,
A bird begins to