Once more the dead Christ lies – borne down the ages.

O precious head, still fragrant with the box of ointment broken,
O feet for kisses,
Thin shrunken knees, hands still yet worn with toil,
Dear mother bending over, breathing clouds
Of love and pity!
Ah! the cruel fate!
Sweet lips she suckled, hers that pressed so small
Against her breasts – pierced now with shameful wounds!
The dead-pale face so gentle, the dear god
She brought forth on the Earth!

O people crucified in every land,
Mothers in all the earth weeping your sons!
Sisters and lovers kissing the feet of love,
Poor way-worn feet, gross toil-disfigured hands,
So loved, so loved!

Once more the dead Christ lies – borne down the ages.

– Edward Carpenter, “The Dead Christ (After the picture by Fra Bartolomeo)“, from Towards Democracy (1916)

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