In more recent years, James Kirkup
's poem has been the catalyst for a pair of controversies in England:
, police began an 18 month investigation of the Gay and Lesbian Christian Movement
after complaints from the Church of England
. The GLCM had a website that merely linked
to the poem on a site outside the country. Police alleged that the hyperlink facilitated
access to the banned poem, but never pressed charges despite the lengthy investigation.
In December 2001
, TV presenter Joan Bakewell
(who, in the 60s, had smuggled a copy of Lady Chatterly's Lover
in her underwear) ran into criticism and legal trouble when she read a portion of the poem on the BBC
Once again, something that would have languished in obscurity, perhaps deservedly so, is given attention because some people get their undergarments in a twist over a little shock value blasphemy
Note to Scotland Yard: I am a US citizen and this web site is hosted on servers within the United States. Bugger off!
As they took him from the cross
I, the centurion
, took him in my arms-
the tough lean body
of a man no longer young,
but well hung
He was still warm.
While they prepared the tomb
I kept guard over him.
His mother and the Magdalen
had gone to fetch clean linen
to shroud his nakedness.
I was alone with him.
For the last time
I kissed his mouth. My tongue
found his, bitter with death
I licked his wound-
For the last time
I laid my lips around the tip
of that great cock
, the instrument
of our salvation
, our eternal joy
, still throbbed, anointed
with death's final ejaculation
I knew he'd had it off with other men-
's guards, with Pontius Pilate
With John the Baptist
, with Paul
with foxy Judas
, a great kisser, with
the rest of the Twelve, together and apart.
He loved all men, body, soul
. - even me.
So now I took off my uniform, and, naked,
lay together with him in his desolation
caressing every shadow of his cooling flesh,
hugging him and trying to warm him back to life.
Slowly the fire
in his thighs went out,
while I grew hotter with unearthly love.
It was the only way I knew to speak our love's proud name,
to tell him of my long devotion, my desire, my dread-
something we had never talked about. My spear
, wet with blood,
his dear, broken body all open wounds,
and in each wound his side, his back,
his mouth - I came and came and came
as if each coming was my last.
And then the miracle possessed us.
I felt him enter into me, and fiercely spend
his spirit's final seed within my hole, my soul,
pulse upon pulse, unto the ends of the earth-
he crucified me with him into kingdom come
-This is the passionate and blissful crucifixion
same-sex lovers suffer, patiently and gladly.
They inflict these loving injuries of joy and grace
one upon the other, till they dies of lust
within the horny paradise
of one another's limbs,
with one voice cry to heaven
in a last divine release.
Then lie long together, peacefully entwined, with hope
, as we did, on that green hill far away.
But before we rose again, they came and took him from me.
They knew no what we had done, but felt
no shame or anger. Rather they were glad for us,
and blessed us, as would he, who loved all men.
And after three long, lonely days, like years,
in which I roamed the gardens of my grief
seeking for him, my one friend who had gone from me,
he rose from sleep, at dawn, and showed himself to me before
all others. And took me to him with
the love that now forever dares to speak its name.