The Nail Man

Which one was it 
that held the nails
and then hammered them
into place?

Did he hit them
out of anger,
or a simple
sense of duty?

Was it a job
that had to be done,
or a good day’s work
in the open air?

And when they
clawed past bone
and bit into wood,
was it like all the others,
or did history
shudder a little
beneath the head
of that hammer?

Was he still there,
packing away his tools,
when ‘It is finished’
was uttered to the throng,
or was he at home
washing his hands
and getting ready 
for the night?

Will he be
among the forgiven
on that Day of Days,
his sin having been slain
by his own savage spike? 

This amazing poem returns to my consciousness every Good Friday. Thank you Steve Turner for your profound and poignant reminder of the mystery of the atonement.

One thought on “The Nail Man

  1. It’s hard for us to imagine in our time, that this man’s task was “a job of work”, which he had to do often. Just reading this poem and putting myself in the “nail man’s” place makes me cold and sends shivers down my spine. Not a job for the faint hearted, I think. One can only hope he caught a glimpse of the Love of God….
    “But God, who is gracious and rich in mercy …”
    “Who forgives all our iniquities…bless The Lord, oh my soul!”

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