Eleventh Station—Christ Nailed to the Cross

Behold, God is no longer with us. He is on the ground.

The frenzied pack has taken him by the throat like a stag.

So You have come! You are really with us, Lord!

They have sat upon you, their knee upon your heart.

This hand that the executioner twists is the right hand of the Almighty.

They have bound the Lamb by the legs, they’re tying up the Omnipresent.

They mark with chalk on the cross his height and armspan.

And when he tastes of our nails, we’ll see his face.


Eternal Son, whose boundary is your Infinity alone,

Here it is, then, with us, this narrow place that you have coveted!

Here is Elishah stretched out lying on the dead boy,

Here is the throne of David and the glory of Solomon,

Here is the bed of our love with You, powerful and hard!

It is difficult for a God to make himself fit our scale.

They pull and the half-dislocated body cracks and cries,

He is stretched as in a press, he is hideously butchered.

So that the Prophet might be confirmed who foretold it in these words:

“They have pierced my hands and feet. They have numbered all my bones.”


You are caught, Lord, and can no longer escape.

You are nailed on the cross by the hands and by the feet.

I have nothing more to seek in heaven with the heretic and the madman.

This God is enough for me, held between four spikes.

—From Paul Claudel’s “The Stations of the Cross,”
translated by John Marson Dunaway

Published in the 2013-05-03 issue: 

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