Three days before the Passover
My Master sent for me to say:
“Judas, I bid thee search the market for
A Book unwrit and clothed in red.”
“Where in the market, Master, and
What inscription this Unscripture bears?
And pray tell me to what end
Thy bid compares.” ... I asked.
The Master laughed and raised his hands
To touch mine throbbing neck in loving care,
And to ears propensed to obedience
Whispered thus – seeing not, but ever aware
Of eleven spiteful looks of burning glare.
“Beloved Judas, on such guileless lips
As yours, little angels test their airy wings
Before they descend on punic scripts
that hold people's minds in eclipse.
“The Book is in the care of Uriel,
A vendor blind and ear lobeless.
Ask him if he the name of the Lord ever sung,
And he to thee his outer garment shall impart,
The left pocket of which is committed to conceal
The Book; and the message Uriel shall speak.”
Through the dimmed Jerusalem market stalls,
Deaf to the din and clatter and calls,
I searched for Uriel whose nipped ears never tire
In the service of my Master’s desire.
“Who’s Uriel?” I asked a boy in rags and in fingers fast.
The boy raised his grubby digit and pointed
To the stall of the market’s biblioclast,
And there stood the man whose visage I searched.
“Hast thou the name of the Lord ever sung?”
I asked Uriel in manner rather urgent.
He rolled his cloudy eyes to the sky strung
With pins of shimmering light and
Handed me his garment in acknowledgement.
Then, he spoke thus:
“Thirty pieces of silver, Judas,
Thirty Shekels of Tyre,
Are yours to receive
For a kiss to surrender thine Sire.”
George Trialonis (c) 2006
Published by ken*again Fall 2006