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In the Shadow of the Cross

by Robert Hawkins © 2002

In the shadow of the lonely cross
is a young man far from home;
but his father's turned his back on him,
and he's left to die alone.
They have stripped him of his dignity,
and he hangs his head in shame.
And his friends have run away to hide,
and they dare not speak his name.
And the people jeer
as the soldiers sneer
‚Äčin the shadow of the cross.

In the shadow of the violent cross
is the agonizing face
of a man who strains to move his legs
while his feet are nailed in place.
And his weight tears open tender flesh
from the spikes nailed through each hand;
and his blood keeps making larger pools
just below him in the sand.
And the crowd just waits
while he suffocates
in the shadow of the cross.

In the shadow of the silent cross
hangs the Nazarene who died;
to be sure, a soldier takes his spear
and he runs it through his side.
And the heavens turn as black as night,
and the earth begins to shake.
and the soldiers wonder whom they've killed --
have they made a grave mistake?
While some walk away
others kneel to pray
in the shadow of the cross.

In the shadow of the empty cross
heavy beams are stained blood-red,
from his wounded back, his hands and feet,
and the thorns around his head.
Yet the blood is mixed with grace and hope
and the pain has turned to joy;
for the tomb cannot contain the man
whom the cross could not destroy.
From the thorns of old
comes a crown of gold
in the shadow of the cross.

This poem won first place for the March 2021 poetry contest

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