4.06.2006

Wow. This is interesting. I am hoping that I don’t offend any of my Christian readers here, but I just had to share this. I also want to point out here that I am not Christian, I am Wiccan. So, really, my knowledge of this is all very half-fast and outsiderish and not meant to be a challenge to anyone’s beliefs or faith.

When I first entered the MFA program, my very first poem written was an exploration of the motives of Judas Iscariot. He fascinates me. Betrayal itself fascinates me. Probably because of the times that I have betrayed people I love. Sometimes I do it to help them in the long run.

Anyway, when I was thinking hard about Judas and reading the passages in the Bible which related to him and his actions, it started occurring to me that Jesus’ sacrifice could not have occurred without the betrayal. I started wondering if it was all part of a plan. A divine plan. If Judas had to betray Jesus, for the greater good. Jesus knew who would betray him, and yet did nothing. Judas knew that he would be the one to betray. And yet, they loved each other. And after Jesus was crucified Judas killed himself. The Gnostics and some early Church Heretics thought that perhaps Judas had betrayed Christ thinking that Christ’s arrest would force his followers into acting and starting a revolution, that he never thought Christ would be allowed to be crucified. But what if he did? What if he did know the crucifixion would happen, and that, furthermore, that was exactly what was supposed to happen, and that he was to be instrument for its beginning?

Anyway, so I wrote this poem. And it didn’t go over well. So I rewrote it. And it still didn’t go over well. And, truthfully, I’m not certain that I like this poem. I’m not certain it says what I want. I’m not certain I want to say what it says. It’s much different than others I’ve written since I approached it in a “top-down” sort of way rather than the “bottom-up” way that I normally write.

Then, now, today, this story comes out in CNN that says that the possible Gospel of Judas has been found, carbon-dated, and translated. And in that partial new Gospel it seems that Judas betrayed Christ as per Jesus’ request. As a way to liberate his spirit from his flesh:

“The key passage comes when Jesus tells Judas "you will exceed all of them. For you will sacrifice the man that clothed me."…This indicates that Judas would help liberate the spiritual self by helping Jesus get rid of his physical flesh, the scholars said.”


Hmmm. Maybe I was onto something. Maybe I’m prophetic. Or maybe I’m just not as original as I thought, and some first-century writer already spun their fantastic tale of agreed-upon betrayal for greater good…

Since it’s National Poetry Month, here’s the poem. Enjoy!

PS – more poetic enterprises to come as soon as I figure some technology out…


ISCARIOT
Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.
Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him.
(John xiii, 27, 31)

I

Thousands of particles pierce him
and pass through. He is full of feathers,

light, stones and carbon. The ground pulses
and he is down. He has done as he was meant.

The bees are compelled to wake
in darkness and seek the flowering.

They swarm toward him.
They drink from his eyes.


He is so swollen and burnt and dazzled they can’t help
but make honey in his hands.

He took the silver but never counted it.

II

It was out among the rabbit brush,
yellow brooms glowing, that the sky

moved left and I was thrown to ground.
I finish my part by hurting

you purposefully and walking away.
I cry and do not relent.

And if later I try to open my throat
and take those wounds back

It will not undo the brush
of gold, the left of sky,

the sipping of a hundred score bees.

Posted by Trista @ 12:57 PM

Read or Post a Comment

I don't know what it is about the image of bees that is so powerful, but...it is. Especially when they make honey in people's hands.

Like when Plath talks about her "box of maniacs".

You have your own bee poems! Who knew?

Posted by Blogger Plimco @ 1:30 PM #
 

I thought I'd quickly tell you about a little book I bought and read to my daughter the other day. It's called Little Soul and the Sun. If you haven't read it, now you simply have to.

'K

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous @ 3:11 PM #
 

fyi, I didn't mean to be anonymous. I just don't know how to be otherwise.
Keri

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous @ 3:13 PM #
 

Trista, wonderful, as all of yours that I've read thus far have been. Thank you for sharing that.

Posted by Blogger Faith @ 3:29 PM #
 

I've wondered that too, if Judas knew that someone had to do the deed and so it might as well have been him. Pretty significant role when you think about it.

Posted by Blogger Lorem ipsum @ 5:39 PM #
 

Yowzah! Powerful poem, Trista.

Posted by Blogger Anne @ 5:40 PM #
 

I think this is fascinating. Seriously, dude, are we related, 'cause I think just like this.

Posted by Blogger hd @ 6:57 PM #
 

So I kind of hate to be a person who brings Andrew Lloyd Webber into this discussion but here I go: I feel that your point is very much addressed visually, lyrically and musically in the rock opera "Jesus Christ Superstar." There's a sort of Annunciation to Judas. And in my opinion (and I'm not a Christian either, though I will say that my college major was Comparative Religion) for that story to work, both as literature and as myth, Judas had a role to play.
Thanks, Trista....I love this stuff. Love love love.

Posted by Blogger Lo @ 7:29 PM #
 

I am Christian and I find both the poem and your thought process behind it compelling. In fact, I agree that the betrayal of Jesus had to happen as did his crucifiction. I'm not sure whether or not Judas played his part in that whole scenario deliberately or unwittingly, but it is something I think about often. This is far from offensive, at least from where I'm sitting.

Posted by Blogger Melessa @ 10:22 AM #
 

It is an interesting story and paradox. Christians condemn Judas for betraying Jesus, but there would be no Christians if he hadn't. I wonder if that was the beginning of the thread of hatred that runs deep in the Christian religion as practiced.

Posted by Blogger Cindy @ 12:52 PM #
 
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