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David McLansky

(5/24/1944 / New York City)

The Pilgrum Road 26


Zechariah Rebukes the Priest (29)

'I did not say that I was Christ, 

To say that's not exactly right; 

The Eucharist gives us each a portion, 

Let there be no vile distortion; 

In all of us is Jesus Christ, 

The Roman who had rolled the dice, 

The thief who's place Our Jesus took, 

His faithless friends whom Him forsook; 

The leaders of the Second Temple, 

The leper, Pharisee, the simple, 

The blind, the wise, the Doubting Thomas; 

Peter who failed to keep his promise; 

In all of us is Jesus Christ

We bless ourselves not once but thrice, 

Proclaiming in His Holy Name

That we are One and just the same; 

You accuse this child of witchcraft, 

Then put your charges in a draft, 

Then send them to the Diocese, 

And let us see if they agree.



Jurisdiction (30)

There arose a murmur in the crowd, 

An argument that grew more loud; 

Then out-stepped the old Prioress, 

To contain the spreading group unrest; 

She cried, 'Send the child to the Bishop, '

And then a smile deformed her lips, 

'And put this man under arrest, 

He's a heretic, Satan blessed; 

Put them both under guard.'

A silence fell across the yard; 

'Try them both for apostasy

Before the Bishop, then we'll see, 

Who speaks in the name of Christ, 

Who's God's Ordained or Anti-Christ.' 

A silence fell across the crowd, 

The Pilgrim stood up straight and proud, 

'Like He who shouldered His True Cross,
I shoulder her, ' and here he tossed
The little girl upon his back

And walked through the gate not looking back.



The New Venue (31)

And so the village streamed to town

How quickly word had spread around, 

Formal Charges were writ and brought

In the Ecclesiastic Court

Against the Pilgrim and the child

Who were put in prison until the trial.

A dour Deacon of the Court

Drew up the charges in a report, 

A man of cunning legalese

Feared throughout the Diocese; 

He was a small and ugly man, 

Frog-like faced, who spoke deadpan, 

Grim of feature with insinuations, 

Lurid in his presentations; 

The Bishop himself would adjudicate

And render verdict and their fate, 

An expert in Church Canon Law

A man of wise and subtle saws; 

From miles around they streamed to town, 

A vacant room could not be found; 

The farmer left his ox and plough, 

The boatman left his river trow; 

Eager to see the great bon-fire

That would burn the witch and Zechariah.



Trial Tactics (32)

The prosecutor, with cunning guile, 

Thought to first convict the child, 

For once convicted of witchcraft

She'd stoke the mob to fiery wrath; 

And the Pilgrim in defending her

Against his name would incur a slur

For surely a confirmed heretic

By defending her, would himself convict; 

And so the child was brought to trial

She was dressed in rags, dank and vile; 

Her hair uncombed, her face besmudged, 

She looked up frightened at the Judge; 

The Deacon warned her not to lie, 

If she lied she would surely die; 

God would send the lightening down, 

And burn her, he said with a frown; 

The little girl began to cry, 

The Deacon warned her not to lie, 

And then asked her to sing a song

For the Judge and gathered throng;

Submitted: Sunday, December 30, 2012
Edited: Sunday, December 30, 2012

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Comments about this poem (The Pilgrum Road 26 by David McLansky )

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  • Owain Glyn (12/30/2012 5:21:00 AM)

    This is so well put together! the story is great, the rhythm flows and it is a lovely piece of work. (Report) Reply

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