|© Culture and Sport Glasgow (Museums)|
no bonds or blood to mar
perfection. Instead, the figure hangs
beautiful above the flat sea
watched – or ignored – by anachronistic fishermen,
brooding over the water yet
soaring out to embrace
the viewer in the small space
dwarfed by the cosmos that is
the final resting of the crucified.
The humanity is complete,
the only agony visible in the twist
of the arms, the taut sculpture
of tormented shoulders,
but this is God who leaves behind
the tawdry superscription that would
seek to limit him,
this is God who reaches out as
crucifix to dying lips
as benediction to the world
as light into the darkened sky –
stop. Look up. Can you not
feel the wind?
Dali's painting, Christ of St John of the Cross, hangs in the Kelvingrove Art Galleries in Glasgow. I grew up visiting it, and wrote this poem after my most recent visit, when I saw it in a fourth new setting. I am indebted to Glasgow Museums for permission to use the image.