Behold the man
Made in our image
After our likeness
Stretching our sceptre over
All that we have made
Blessed, fruitful,
Filling the earth
Benign and humane 

Behold the man
Who would be King:
A parody, fit not for allegiance
Or fear: his twisted crown and
Mock-imperial purple
(Even the likeness of Caesar
And his dominion)
A cruel joke

Behold the man
Ought to die
Made himself the Son of God 
A jumped-up Lord
Of a backwater Empire 
Yet recognised by those who know
As a man under authority 
Commissioned, listening, sent

Behold the man
Pilate, no-one’s friend
Least of all Caesar’s.
A fearful cynic, bemused:
Are you their King? What is truth?
Casting judgement at Gabbatha
Uncalled, unsent, careering
Oblivious to purpose 

Behold the man
Ritual duties pressing 
Pious, not to be defiled
By the heathens 
To whom he passes 
The work of death 
Whose angel passed over
His ancestors’ firstborn 

Behold the man
The crowd are told:
Your King! “We have no King 
But Caesar” is their roared reply; 
Away with him! Crucify!
Manhood swallowed by the mob’s
Animal spirits: victims
Terrorised, abased, compliant

Behold the man
Raised on high, still
Alive, neither railing
Nor cursing, his kingship proclaimed 
Aloud in official script, in three
Tongues, that all the world 
May know: it is written 
And stays written

Behold the man
Disciples, supporters, clustered 
At his feet, as so many times before, 
To hear him teach. 
They hear him
Love unto the end, calling them
To behold, and hold, one another
As family, forever

Behold the man
The firstborn of all creation 
Seeking no Passover
As the angel comes for him
Knowing his days, work, finished
Bowing his head, gives up
His spirit – to evening, and morning,
The sixth day

Behold the man
Witness, martyr, to the truth
There is no kingdom
Worth fighting for, to defend 
Or to enforce
The truth, e’en in death, 
Shall set us free: Victory
Remains with love

Behold the Man
Who saw all that He had made
And behold, it was very good.
Stretching his sceptre 
Through the weak, the dying
The restored to love
Blessed, fruitful,
Filling the earth

Benign and humane.


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