First World War Poetry Digital Archive

http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/ww1lit/

"The Crucifix"

He hung there at the crossroads On a Cross of rain-beat red, And the nails that pierced His hands and feet And the thorn crown on His head Showed awfully in the moonlight, And it seemed that He was dead.

But I knelt beneath the Crucifix And prayed with bowed head, And the nails that pierced His hands and feet Fell out, all rusted red, And shining in the moonlight Was a gold crown on His head.

And He came from off the Crucifix, He who had seemed dead, And gently placed His pierced hand In mine and so He led Me in the paling moonlight To a place all bloody red.

“Here was a soldier’s sacrifice”, He gently to me said. “Here a man fell, as was his meet,
For justice; and he bled There in the ghastly moonlight Till they said that he was dead.

“But I saw him from yon Crucifix, And I came with noiseless tread, And took his heart and placed it In a babe unborn instead, And his soul sped in the moonlight, And with God’s in Heaven was wed.

“And the babe shall be a hero, Of that soldier’s valour bred, He shall live to lead his brothers, But not in battle red; He shall lead them to the sunlight, When the Hell of War is dead”.

I awoke there at the crossroads By the Cross of rain-beat red. And the nails, that pierced His hands and feet And the thorn-crown on His head Showed awfully in the moonlight. But I knew He was not dead.

                         John B Nicholson   
                         France 1915
Author Nicholson, John B.
Title The Crucifix
Item Date 1915
Creation place France
Copyright The Great War Archive, University of Oxford / Primary Contributor
Digital repository The Great War Archive, University of Oxford
Reference URL http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/ww1lit/gwa/item/5672