While working on my compilation of Good Friday poems a few weeks ago, one of the most unique poems I found is the following baroque “shape poem” , Uber den gekreutzigten Jesus, by Catharina Regina von Greiffenberg. This translation is by Grace Andreacchi. Very impressive to be able to reproduce this shape poem so nicely in translation!
On the Crucified Jesus
See the King of Kings hangs there/
sprinkles us all with his blood.
His wounds are the fountain/
flowing with our salvation.
See / he stretches out his hands to catch us all;
How he’s longing to press us to his burning heart.
Yes, he bows his dearest head, greedy for kisses.
His thoughts and his limbs alike poured out
to our salvation.
His side is open /
to show his gracious heart:
If we look with a full mind
we shall see ourselves there.
So many stripes/so many wounds/
we may count on his body/
So many springs of victory and blessing
He longed to create for our souls.
Between heaven and earth
longed to offer himself up
and reconcile us with GOD.
To strengthen us/ he faded away:
Yes, his death/ has given life
to me and all the world.
Jesus Christ! Your death and pain
Live and breathe in my heart again!
– Catharina Regina von Greiffenberg , 1633-1694
(trans Grace Andreacchi)