The Airy Christ
by Stevie Smith
After reading Dr Rieu’s translation of St Mark’s Gospel.
Who is this that comes in splendour, coming from the blazing East?
This is he we had not thought of, this is he the airy Christ.
Airy, in an airy manner in an airy parkland walking,
Others take him by the hand, lead him, do the talking.
But the Form, the airy One, frowns an airy frown,
What they say he knows must be, but he looks aloofly down,
Looks aloofly at his feet, looks aloofly at his hands,
Knows they must, as prophets say, nailèd be to wooden bands.
As he knows the words he sings, that he sings so happily
Must be changed to working laws, yet sings he ceaselessly.
Those who truly hear the voice, the words, the happy song,
Never shall need working laws to keep from doing wrong.
Deaf men will pretend sometimes they hear the song, the words,
And make excuse to sin extremely; this will be absurd.
Heed it not. Whatever foolish men may do the song is cried
For those who hear, and the sweet singer does not care that he was crucified.
For he does not wish that men should love him more than anything
Because he died; he only wishes they would hear him sing.
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