Overall structure of Sherthursdaye and Venus day

The primary focus of the last two sections is the bringing together of three topics which were very closely related in the poet’s mind: the Annunciation and Nativity, the Last Supper and Crucifixion, and the Eucharist. The nativity has been the main focus of the previous part; here the emphasis shifts to the events of the Thursday and Friday in Passover week in CE 31 or 32 (or thereabouts: estimates vary) and their continual re-enactment ever since in the Roman Catholic Mass.

In contrast to the previous sections, this section is written entirely in the voice of the poet himself. It reads as if we are getting to the heart of what DJ believed and what he was wanting to say. It reminds me throughout of the remark of Thomas Hardy in one of his notebooks: “The ultimate aim of the poet should be to teach our hearts by showing his own, and not to exhibit his learning, or his fine taste, or his skill in mimicking the notes of his predecessors”.

pages 224-225 The metaphor of the journey or quest has run throughout the poem; here it begins with Jesus as mythic hero.
226-227 He metaphoricallybecomes a Roman general.
227-228 A link is established with the folksong John Barleycorn (cut down in his prime in order to make bread — a clear link with the host at the Eucharist).
229 Jesus is the paterfamilias at his annual birthday celebration, in which he makes oblation to the spirit of himself as father of the family.
230-232 This establishes a ‘new rite’, which replaces the Levite rite of Melchesidec on which it is based. It also re-presents other mythic rites which are subsumed in the new rite.
234-237 The motifs of rocks and mountains, Mary, Calvary, and water are combined and come to a climax in the cry from the cross of SITIO (I thirst). This is followed by signs which followed the death of Christ to which the local Governor, Pontius Pilate, was oblivious.
238–242 The important sign of Bread as the body of Christ is reaffirmed in connection with the Last Supper and the Eucharist. The idea of faithfulness unto death is symbolised by Argos and by Anubis (the dog-god of death in Ancient Egyptian myths).
242-243 Finally, the poem ends with the actions of a ‘he’ who is simultanously Jesus at the Last Supper, Christ on the cross, and the priest at the Mass with which the poem began.