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A Rusty Nail

 I ran a nail into my hand,
 The wound was hard to heal;
So bitter was the pain to stand
 I thought how it would feel,
To have spikes thrust through hands and feet,
 Impaled by hammer beat.
Then hoisted on a cross of oak Against the sullen sky, With all about the jeering follk Who joyed to see me die; Die hardly in insensate heat, With bleeding hands and feet.
Yet was it not that day of Fate, Of cruelty insane, Climaxing centuries of hate That woke our souls to pain! And are we not the living seed Of those who did the deed! Of course, with thankful heart I know We are not fiends as then; And in a thousand years or so We may be gentle men.
But it has cost a poisoned hand, And pain beyond a cry, To make me strangely understand A Cross against the sky.

Poem by Robert William Service
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