For Easter, I'd like to share this poem which I wrote in 2012. Like many of my poems, it considers the relationship between art and sacrifice.
Martyrdom of an Unknown Saint; parish church of El Divino Salvador, Vejer .
The chapel is bright with glowing silver and sentiment;
The big floats rest, the friendless Christ,
With his broken face, gorgeous in violet.
And painted on the wall a different scene of passion,
‘Pero en mal estad, en muy mal estad’,
Blemished by cracks and clumsy restoration,
An unknown saint, maybe San Sebastian.
The sky darkens as the Roman heavies
Advance on the naked man. He lifts his arms
As though he might at any moment spin
Into a triumphant escobilla, urged on by
Palmas and jaleos and cries of ¡alé!
From an unseen crowd; halfway to heaven,
Already almost a saint.
History tells us it was otherwise.
And surely his stance is impossible? A small angel
Hovers above, ready to receive his soul,
He surges forward; birds and arrows split the sky;
His eyes turn upwards: is it aire
Or duende, or mere agony
Which fires his limbs to ecstasy?
We do not know, and now we never will,
What we are seeing; triumph or victory?
Falling or rising? Dancing?