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The Deposition

[ by Charles Cameron — devotional, Good Friday ]

The Word is

You could fold Christ up, once he’s dead
and you’ve taken him down from the cross:

he bends at the knees, the painter
knew this, his head droops to one side,
he weighs as much as he did when
still alive but he’s gone now, what remains
are the remains, he folds at the knees,
this is not unlike lifting furniture, don’t

let him drop. The painter caught you
while you were holding — is anything more
precious, can you even believe who,
what you are carrying? — his dead body,
damp with water, sweat, grievous blood.

And the Word is — he was who he always is.


Rogier van der Weyden, Descent from the Cross (ca. 1435, Museo del Prado, Madrid)

3 Responses to “The Deposition”

  1. Lexington Green Says:

    “They took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.”

  2. michael robinson Says:

    The work was commissioned by the Guild of Crossbow-men of Louvain – there are miniature spandrels of crossbows in the corners – and the figure of Christ takes the shape of a crossbow relaxed after releasing its arrow.

  3. Madhu Says:

    “…..don’t let him drop.”
    I read that bit several times over, and the entire poem, too. So beautiful. So expressive.

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