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Peter Eliastam

The Tomb

A pleasant garden bloomed below the hill
Beyond the temple at Jerusalem.
Contrasting with the cross-trees, gaunt and still,
Time’s ghoulish archetype of Yad vaShem.
Exsanguinated, lifeless on the stone,
God’s verdict and His sentence reinforced,
The Irreproachable lay pale and prone,
Reproached in epicentral holocaust.
Detained at its meridian, the gloom
To third degree eclipsed the noonday sun.
Three execution stakes displayed the doom
Of man, our Substitute’s the central one –
There hung a redolence of precious spice
Crushed in that place of awful sacrifice.

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Our Substitute

Subsumed in Him, all human agony
Was concentrated at Gethsemane.
Mere language fails, all images exhaust,
In view of Christ’s climactic holocaust.
His voice, unrecognised in Nazi camps,
Where milliard Jews refused to hear Him speak,
Rose high in hoarse crescendo, through biting cramps
Of anguish in extremity, to shriek,
“It is accomplished! ” Done. He bowed His head.
Soldiers aghast, forbore to break His legs.
They pierced His stationary heart instead.
The Son of David, drank sin to the dregs.
Shamed! Destined to be lynched and crucified,
That we, unblamed, might be indemnified.

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