‘He atones not with blood’, by R. S. Thomas

He atones not with blood
but with the transfusions
that are the substitute of its loss.

Under the arc-lamps
we suffer the kisses
of the infected needle,

satisfied to be the saviour
not of the world, not
of the species, but of the one

anonymous member
of the gambling party
at the foot of the cross.

– R. S. Thomas, Counterpoint (Newcastle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe Books, 1990), 38.

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