RG Gregory

unholy saint


blue eyes i imagine he had
beneath his carrot hair
and a mind that could not see
clearly beyond his age
if he had glimpsed his history
and acted accordingly
he has left no record of the fact
no miraculous utterance has been arranged
to illuminate his creed and his kingdom
has remained unattested by the world
the signs are of a man moving
like the damned into his own dark corner
acting as a thousand men would act
in the same situation too much a part
to follow the familiar plot beyond its limits
twisting and evolving into faith
perhaps even there was no intuitive need
to do this thing and he was ignorant of
his own eternal crucifixion
yet what knowledge ran to earth
at his death did not take with him his name
but left it naked to the tongues of all
who have made him what they would deny
the unconscious unacknowledged saint
of human action and its dark recesses
the scapegoat symbol of minority
representative of his own despisers
betrayed by them the betrayers whom
they say he has betrayed
                                        his trade mark
is branded distinctly on their haunches
and his image is moulded in their hearts
if jesus is here then judas and jesus share
between them this posterity of little christs

or put this way — thirty pieces of silver
(payment before the act that stained the hand
like blood and would not wash away) was all
he got for dirty work that he was chosen for
the anointed carrier of guilt
                                                  divinity in him
led on to sacrifice — the eternal god
made earth his poignant hell and he became
the one unsanctified unholy saint
the antithesis of the glory of christ
which he had succoured and whetted with his kiss.

i do not ask your pity for him but your understanding
his face is yours in the mirror — he works
not by mysterious ways but from the heart
and carries like you the burden of its errors
jesus can bear his crucifixion having come
to earth with the firm intention
of dying on the cross
his soul was armoured from the start
against the sticks and stones of scribes
nothing went wrong — he lived a joke
of which the trinity already knew the point
but the birth of judas has had no commentary
and he sold himself to the ideal of good
without the immaculate conception
needed to see it through
which jesus had been given as a guarantee
before he stepped into the virgin's womb

i do not hate jesus or think more of judas
for they are intermingling symbols
and really indivisible — j
three dashes s will do for both of them
the same in spirit as in letter
at the beginning and at the end
each with a finger in the human pie

the legend of judas is the legend of man
the son of man in christ the son of god
renouncing only that a ghost is holy
and the incomprehensible example
of the perfect good

tides of human loving swing
from agape to eros
and suffering has alternate springs
in calvary and judas

the middle ages understood
that mary was as much to blame
as judas for the holy rood
and glorified her name

judas alone was left condemned
in the cell of the human heart
and loaded with immortal sin
for playing the human part

the sticks and stones have built a church
that hurt the word of jesus
but a dishonoured name has broken the bones
of the body that was judas