THERE ARE TOO MANY SAVIOURS ON MY CROSS
Richard Harris - 1971
There are too many saviours on my cross
Lending their blood to flood out my ballot box
With needs of their own
Who put you there?
Who told you that that was your place?
You carry me secretly, naked in your heart
And clothe me publicly in armour, crying, "God is on our side"
Yet I openly cry, "Who is on mine? Who, tell me who?"
You who bury your sons and cripple your fathers
Whilst you buried my father in crippling his son
The antiquated Saxon sword
Rusty in its scabbard of time, now rises
You gave it cause in my name
Bringing shame to the thorned head
That once bled for your salvation
I hear your daily cries in the far off byways
And your mouth pointing north and south
And my Calvary looms again, desperate in rebirth
Your earth is partitioned, but in contrition
It is the partition in your hearts that you must abolish
You nightly watchers of Gethsemane
Who sat through my nightly trial, delivering me from evil
Now, deserted, I watch you share your silver
Your purse, rich in hate, bleeds my veins of love
Shattering my bone in the dust of the Bogside and the Shankhill Road
There is no issue stronger than the tissue of love
No need as holy as the palm outstretched in the run of generosity
No monstrosity greater than the acre you inflict
Who gave you the right to increase your fold
And decrease the pastures of my flock?
Who gave you the right? Who gave it to you, who?
And in whose name do you fight?
I am not in heaven
I am here, hear me
I am in you, feel me
I am of you, be me
I am with you, see me
I am for you, need me
I am all mankind
Only through kindness will you reach me
What masked and bannered men can rock the Ark
and navigate a course to their anointed kingdom come?
Who sailed their captain to waters that they troubled in my font
Sinking in the ignorant seas of prejudice?
There is no virgin willing to conceive in the heat of any Bloody Sunday
You children, lying in cries on Derry streets
Pushing your innocence to the full-flushed face of Christian guns
Battling the blame on each other
Do not grow tongues in your dying dumb wounds speaking my name
I am not your prize in your death
You have exorcised me in your game of politics
Go home to your knees, and worship me in any cloth
for I was never tailor-made
Who told you I was? Who gave you the right to think it?
Take your beads in your crippled hands
Can you count my decades?
Take My love in your crippled hearts
Can you count the loss?
I am not orange, I am not green
I am a half-ripe fruit, needing both colours to grow into ripeness
And shame on you to have withered my orchard
I, in my poverty, alone without trust
Cry shame on you and shame on you again and again
For converting me into a bullet and shooting me into men's hearts
The ageless legend of my trial grows old, and the youth of your pulse
Staggering shamelessly from barricade to grave
Filing in the book of history my needless death one April
Let me in my betrayal lie low in my grave
And you in your bitterness lie low in yours
For our measurements grow strangely dissimilar
Our Father, who art in Heaven, sullied be Thy Name!
**This was written with regard to the sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland in
the 60's/70's, but could really apply to any conflict being carried on around the globe.
(Contributed by Mel Priddle - August 2014)