"We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started
and know the place for the first time." (T S Eliot)
"A dark and chanted verse is what I am." (
Forough Farrokhzad)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

CENTURION

We hung three men on trees that day -
Two brutes who killed for murderous thrill
And one for some absurd offense
Priests begged Pilate kill.

The bankers too wanted him dead
And they financed the filthy bribe
That brought him to the governor’s court,
Lashed by cat and jibe.

I watched him die and heard his words
I swear he prayed his god forgive
Those who had nailed his body there
Where no man could live.

Then as the sky turned dark he cried
A cry from Sheol that shook my soul.
I knew he truly was the one
Jewish scrolls extol.

This knowledge came to me by gift.
Somehow he chose a man of war
To see the truth and grasp its grace,
Freed and blamed no more.

That night I slept only in fits
His face shining in dreams of flight.
The night after was much, much worse;
I rose before light.

I walked a dark and winding mile
To gardens of the richest dead.
The servants of the priest stood guard
Where was laid his head.

I had to see him one more time -
They listened to my sombre plea.
So we rolled back the awkward stone -
Those servants and me.

Then brilliant lights were all around;
I heard voices from heaven above.
He rose and walked out of that pit,
Eyes abounding love.

He handed to the priest’s servant
Linen cloths that once bound him tight.
The guard took them and turned to run
Out into the night.

The man who was the son of god -
As I believed him sure to be -
Opened the gardener’s shed and dressed,
Masking his glory.

I watched him walk out of my sight
And stood in awe by that cold slab
Where he had spent two hellish nights
In that cave so drab.

Then in the first streams of day’s light
I saw a woman’s face so fair.
And she, shocked by the sight of me,
Backed into the air.

Where have you put my lord she asked,
Her gaze upon the gardener’s shed
Where stood a man ready for work.
Mary was all he said.

She ran in haste to his embrace
But he gently refused her kiss.
Go and gather them all he said,
Tell them about this.

He cast his eyes on me and smiled.
And I cannot forget that face;
And I cannot forget his words:
I’ll prepare your place.

I was young then in that strange land
And yet it still disturbs my rest
To know that god’s own son chose me -
Damned pagan so blessed.

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