Desert Journeys – 14/4/17

Desert Journeys 33

April 14th 2017

This poem was written by the Anglican priest and army chaplain Geoffrey Studdert-Kennedy, known affectionately by the troops during WW1 as ‘Woodbine Willie’. It reflects the period of disillusion which followed the war, a time of economic downturn and unemployment coupled with rising secularism and materialism. Today, on Good Friday, the saddest day of the Christian year, it still resonates strongly.


by G.A. Studdert-Kennedy (1883-1929)

When Jesus came to Golgotha, they hanged Him on a tree,

They drove great nails through hands and feet, and made a Calvary;

They crowned Him with a crown of thorns, red were His wounds and deep,

For those were crude and cruel days, and human flesh was cheap.

When Jesus came to Birmingham, they simply passed Him by.

They would not hurt a hair of Him, they only let Him die;

For men had grown more tender, and they would not give Him pain,

They only just passed down the street, and left Him in the rain.

Still Jesus cried, ‘Forgive them, for they know not what they do,’

And still it rained the winter rain that drenched Him through and through;

The crowds went home and left the streets without a soul to see,

And Jesus crouched against a wall, and cried for Calvary.

Bertrand Olivier, All Hallows By The Tower



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