I remember this hard, dry field;
’twas being broken by a man.
He tilled the earth in straight furrows;
His farmer’s tools, a cat ‘o nine.
This rustic clown, worked, bent double,
As if he, too, were being broke.
I watched as dust gave way to wind,
And revealed the rich earth below.
From my perch, the man’s broken brow
Smoothed when he saw me; I got down.
I know I have been here before;
Weren’t there two trees on this cliff?
In time, this land gave birth to gold,
Which waved freely in summer’s wind.
What mystery transformed grey dust
In short time to such golden sway.
Was it this field? That day of rest,
When he snapped those gold-heads
And gave a few to each of us
To satisfy our day’s hunger.
I came to watch them collect their
Golden harvest. What violence
There was in their blades. It shook me
To see it; as if ’twere His stories.
They felled each golden stock and shook
Till the chaff took flight ‘pon the wind.
Oh, here is that other tree, but
It is newly cut; a stump here
With rings that span a man’s short life.
Oh, what manner of sign is this?
And that gold, transformed then to loaves,
Sat on market stalls He overturned –
And on tables for usurers
And collectors, and ev’ry form
Of villain one might imagine –
Down their gullets, to satisfy.
Oh, I have seen it all. I have
Been in homes full of bread and death.
And they ate while the poor man starved:
Was this not love, then, that I felt?
But He gave bread; what treachery
‘twas so freely given: “Take. Eat.”
And I ate my judgment that night;
Didn’t we all though? Taking flight
At the first sign of real power.
The sword exposing man’s true heart
More than those infernal stories –
More than that pitiable act.
And now that the golden bread is
Digested, becoming one with
my body, I do not feel light.
I am weighed down by silver weight.
Ah, here is my tree, made ready
Since time’s dawn, no doubt.
This tree like yours, my lord. It seems
we shall share a similar fate.
They will remember me as one
Who betrayed you; but what of you, me?
I am wretched. I am wretched.
Was I not there with Lazarus?
And Judas jumped from the tree with a rope round his neck,
And the branch snapped with the snapping of his neck.
And his tortured memories blew out upon the wind,
And his broken body was turned back into the earth,
And the silver pieces scattered about the cliff’s foot
And they too, were swallowed into the earth.
But in time, they too will be digested.
[Sometimes Easter is a good time for reflection and allowing your mind to wander in church. I decided to use unrhymed tetrameter couplets (until the end), and I hope you enjoy it. I rarely write poetry, but since I’m teaching my students to write it, I might as well try my hand at what they are going through] Enjoy. DJS.