Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Poem Retrospective XIX

I don't quite remember how this poem came about, but it gelled in its stable form more quickly than my religious poems usually do.

Holy Wednesday

How gently falls the stroke of doom,
how swiftly sprouts the vice;
how quiet is the tread of gloom:
a man but asks the price --
the silver gained for traitor's guilt.
And what a paltry price!

The price for which to sell the world,
the price of devastation,
the price that soon a man will hurl
away in desolation:
for little bag of little coin,
the hope of every nation!

Yet are you any better here,
or, for that matter, I?
Too good to sell hope out of fear,
betray love lest we die?
Too wise to trade the deepest things
and some small pleasure buy?

Might someone then have caught your theft,
then caught you in a lie,
a false heart asking, sly and deft:
"Lord, how could it be I?"
Knowing well your deepest guilt:
"I ask you, is it I?"

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