Judas - Poem by Tony Jennett
Blind blue cold, in a sunshine wrapping, wafts
Me down the bucking B five-one-o-nine.
Snowdonia, full of late-spring snow, shafts
The east horizon, beckoning, reckoning harlot-shine
To tempt my eyes from the fox-fur roadside stole
Someone is jerking on a string toward a hedgerow hole.
Easing to a stop, I walk back canny and quiet. A crow
Or a raven, flops bestially on a nearby gate,
My near passing undisturbing the savage, intense, low
Craning of the steel-feathered neck, alert and a-wait
And as I approach, slowing, watching the stole-style thing
I see, heart-gorged, guts in boots, there is no string
A frantic flutter of dying effort from the still live
Fore-half reveals the rope of blood-stained shit under
The stricken bush, still twitching and trembling. A hive
Of severed ganglions still working despite the blunder
Of discoordinance a careless passing tyre has wrought.
The latter half of wondrous creation smashed to nought
At my questing hand, snarl-bared teeth snap
Short-falling under the deadweight of the rear
No power to lift and turn, a frightful gap
Atlantic wide, twixt brain and pelvis and fear
Fear, Fear, in the pleading amber eyes
Eli Eli lama tabakthani? but no surpise.
A firm grip on the suprascapular ruff of skin.
Primordial habit overtakes pain and fear
Be still. The thread of primeval survival slacks
In the ancient memory of cubhood. And within
A voice says 'Mother knows best. Be calm. Relax'
And the trembling stops and the broken wreck
Lies quiet, remembering vixen teeth upon his neck
How light, how waif-like as I lift him. One hand
Under his neck still clutching his ruff, the other
Cuddling the sloppy mess of flesh and bone and
Slow and gentle, tender as a vulpine mother
I lay his splendid neck across the kerbside stone
And place my heel behind his mastoid bone
A sudden struggle of betrayed surprise
As I straighten and stamp down hard holding my breath
And the click of the breaking neck breaks my eyes
And his limpid eyes grow thick with death
And, playful, puppy like, he paws
The kerbstone twice ere quietus brings him pause.
There steel necked harpy, you can have him now!
And washing my innocent? hands in wayside grass
I stagger howling, wailing like a cow
In labour to my steel cocoon. The snowy mass
Of Snowdon blurs in a veil of tears
And silver; thirty pieces; thrown from my dying years
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