I was on my way to the fields when I saw Him carrying His cross;
and multitudes were following Him.
Then I too walked beside Him.
His burden stopped Him many a time, for His body was exhausted.
Then a Roman soldier approached me, saying,
"Come, you are strong and firm built;
carry the cross of this man."
When I heard these words my heart swelled within me
and I was grateful.
And I carried His cross.
It was heavy, for it was made of poplar
soaked through with the rains of winter.
And Jesus looked at me. And the sweat of His forehead
was running down upon His beard.
Again He looked at me and He said, "Do you too drink this cup?
You shall indeed sip its rim with me to the end of time."
So saying He placed His hand upon my free shoulder.
And we walked together towards the Hill of the Skull.
But now I felt not the weight of the cross.
I felt only His hand.
And it was like the wing of a bird upon my shoulder.
Then we reached the hill top,
and there they were to crucify Him.
And then I felt the weight of the tree.
He uttered no word when they drove the nails
into His hands and feet, nor made He any sound.
And His limbs did not quiver under the hammer.
It seemed as if He sought the nails
as the prince would seek the sceptre;
and that He craved to be raised to the heights.
And my heart did not think to pity Him,
for I was too filled with wonder.
Now, the man whose cross I carried has become my cross.
Should they say to me again, "Carry the cross of this man,"
I would carry it till my road ended at the grave.
But I would beg Him to place His hand upon my shoulder.
This happened many years ago;
and still whenever I follow the furrow in the field,
and in that drowsy moment before sleep,
I think always of that Beloved Man.
And I feel His winged hand, here, on my left shoulder.