Twelve Woodcuts by Deryck

Here you are, the thirteenth disciple
At the last supper:
On your left, no doubt is Thomas
On your right Judas—
Their unblinking eyes hone in on the wood
A shower of Galloglaich is taking cover—
The question is: will the English lancers
Pursue the Irish horse for eternity?
The smell of sweat, excrement, horse manure, blood:
A javelin is thrown, but still they circle
And circle like the prettiest carousel
At the funfair.

Twelve is more than the company,
For there is one more:
Here is the artist, his hair lank and greasy,
He is drunk and sweat glistens on his brow.
You are the absence that even Jesus dared not dream.

Once the pansies, stones, trees were lifted up.
A dark mood, brown study
Things that are hidden, dark words, backstabbings,
Blood at the dim gateway
All that echoes in a moment's time.
For all the pansies, stones, trees
Were sucked up in a formless vortex
The old-placed evil was postponed
Sent off to a never never land beyond the sea.

You, the artist, depict yourself as Jesus
You are your own creation, the eyes glimmer.
They love you, at last. As you gaze beyond
Your creation, past the woods,
The hurridly-arriving Kern
With arquebuses alit, the Light Horse
Disconnect the lances placed in their backs
By your hand, circling more and more
Quickly as another evening comes
Somewhere, sometime in Ireland.