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April 01st 2008 print

Graeme Hetherington

Czech Republic (2)

As I travelled the countryside
Following communism’s fall,
I was struck by the damage half
A century of neglect had done

To statues of Christ crucified.
Thick lichen, missing faces, limbs,
Could make them difficult to pick,
And even though, against the odds,

He often clung for dear life to
A broken bit of Cross, His man-
Forged tree, it was sun’s splintering light
Transfiguring the clusters of

Red rowan berries spread like flesh
Throughout the branches which meant He’d
Always, regardless of art’s fate,
Survive the horrors of the times.

Graeme Hetherington