by Martinus Nijhoff
He does not hang terribly high on the wood,
his feet are no higher than my shoulders,
yet when I look up at his stilled face,
I see him ascending along the cross.
And when the nails had been removed,
and I held his stiff body in my arms,
I understood that only in death he left us,
but left with me his bitter cup.
Mary presses his cold head against her breast,
Magdalene wails and lifts up her hands,
Peter looks down from the wall of the city.
But it was I whom he loved when he lived,
and when he died he proffered me so much,
that fulfilling him, I could not speak for years.

Translated by David Cornel DeJong