Thursday, March 21, 2013


image borrowed from bing


“All God’s plans have the mark of the cross on them,
and His plans have death to self in them.”--E.M. Bounds

I, once was a great cedar tree standing
taller than my brethren on the hills outside
of Jerusalem. In 33 A.D., I was chopped down
by Jewish woodsmen, then carried to a Roman
miller, who fashioned me into a crux ansata,
my thick trunk made into a 12 meter center pole,
my biggest branch into a 2 meter cross beam
and a half meter foot rest, the suppedaneum.

We, of the thick pine forest were, of course, aware
of crucifixion, hearing whispers for countless centuries
how the Persians, Carthaginians, Macedonians, and now
the Romans used our wood to make corpus crosses.

I fell proudly, but had no inkling that my fate was to become
the True Cross, the center piece first at Calvary, then
the whole civilized world. I was presented to Christ,
all 285 pounds of me, by Pilate’s thugs, as Jesus
stood tall and scourged, wearing his crown of thorns
like a macabre king.

He had to drag me through the dirty streets of Jerusalem,
through ornate Roman gates, and my bulk drove Him 
to His knees many times, but He always rose under
the whip and shouldered me and continued on His journey
outside the city, up the hill to Golgatha, where I was placed
on the ground and He was placed onto me, where three
6 inch metal spikes were nailed through his palms
and ankles, before we three crosses there, an unholy trinity 
of murderous wood, were stood up into our post holes.

Even I was horrified by the actual death of Jesus. 
I was literally bathed in the Savior’s blood, and
as it coated me in steaming crimson splendor
I could feel it sealing my life force for eternity,
mixing into my pitch and creosote to preserve
my legacy.

Jesus had tremendous strength, despite His wounds,
and He held himself up for several hours before
exhaustion following the darkness at noon
led to His eventual asphyxiation.

I love the legends that have sprung up about me
originally being part of the Tree of Life, sprung
from a holy seed carried in Adam’s mouth,
made into a bridge, later pulled apart, the lumber
reused to make crucifixes--all a fairy tale.

It was true, however, that Helena, mother of
the Emperor Constantine did discover
our decomposing trio 300 years after
we were hidden near Christ’s tomb. 

Today, I am still here, reduced to remnants,
fragments of preserved wood, ensconced 
in a glass case as centerpiece in the
Church of the Holy Sepulchre, erected
piously upon the bloody shoulders of Golgatha.

Do not be fooled by the thousands of faker
splinters throughout the world. Come to Jerusalem
where I await your perusal. I love to recount
my glorious story to all that can hear me. 

Glenn A. Buttkus

March 2013

Posted over on dVerse Poets FFA

Would you like to hear the author read this Easter poem to you?


Claudia said...

oh wow...what a wonderful idea to make the cross talk...really...i'm having goosebumps all over... well done glenn

Brian Miller said...

wow...imagine that honored once horrified at the choice, but then realizing the honor of it as well...dang g, this is a wicked good write...ha on the acknowledgement of the legends as well that have spun out of it...we have the three trees book at the house...and def dont buy a splinter off the cool that it keeps telling the story...

aprille said...

Sensational recount of events. So well imagined and presented. Unforgettable.

Anna Graham said...

The precision of the dimensions of the tree/cross gives excellent contrast to the decidely human and divine aspects of the tale. I have wanted to write a poem about war from the POV of detritivores but haven't yet figured out my approach. Great response to the prompt.

tino11 said...

Amazing narrative on the creation and use of The Cross.
You killed it with this!

Brudberg said...

Wow, that was a story to be told. Impressive

Heaven said...

Wow, love the story and perspective of this cedar tree, honored to be bathed in the Savior's blood ~ This made my hair stand up on ends ~ A treat to read tonight ~

vivinfrance said...

I am confounded by admiration for the concept and realisation of your poem. Though it is a story known to all, the unusual viewpoint brings totally new thoughts about the Crucifixion. said...

Such an appropriate choice with Easter not far away. What a thing to witness, and from what an incredible perspective.

beckykilsby said...

Compelling. The narrative entices and the concrete details you have chosen bring this to life. I like too how the research (or knowledge) about the crucifixion is worn lightly and serves the whole. Nicely done Glenn.

annell said...

This seems a very imaginative poem.

rallentanda said...

Very creative and interesting research on the history of the Cross. Very appropriate for upcoming Good Friday.
' Unholy trinity of murderous wood"
is an excellent descriptor.The terribly cruel physical torture of Jesus is aptly presented without being sensational. Well done!

rumoursofrhyme said...

I was expecting something amazing from you Glenn, and you haven't disappointed me at all. This is chilling, but compelling reading.

A small correction though - the nails were driven through the wrists of the victims - the bones of the hand are not strong enough to bear the weight.

Glenn Buttkus said...

Actually Tony, as the painting depicts, there are several theories that Jesus was not roped first, and that out of spite the Roman guards did drive the nails through the center of his palms; lots of controversy. The religious phenomenon of "stigmata" rises out of this dispute. said...

Masterful work for the Lenten season - 'it coated me in steaming crimson splendor I could feel it sealing my life force for eternity, mixing into my pitch and creosote to preserve my legacy. ' so moving - K

Marian Haddad said...

lot of power here
and questions; it made me cry and moved me.....i am still affected by it
i posted my fave excerpts on my fb wall

thank you

Marian Haddad said...

I am still unable to leave the place it took me, truly, you sent me to Holy Thursday, the reality of the heinous suffering, the perspective of the wood, the cross, the rood, tears.....thank you, for your poem, and also for your kind words.

hyperCRYPTICal said...

Compelling write indeed.

Anna :o]

Ann Alejandro said...

Oh my God. I have been meditating on the true sadism that the shroud of Torino reveals, how the ripped off so much skin, broke His nose, and covered him not with a circlet but a skullcap of thorns, how there was no skin on His knees or part of His face, and this poem, poor cross, poor Him, poor Mother, poor us. I am crying. Thank you dear Glenn......