The Stone Pavement

 ‘When Pilate heard these words he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgement seat at the place called the Stone Pavement, in Hebrew, the Gabbatha’. – John 29.12
 for Brian Haw 
on the stone pavement I will not judge
the others who crawl
or limp
in darkness
or walk
on fingers
or lie
by pools
                                           or die
                                         in rooms
because I have not the authority to judge
or the perception of
the shames in veils
from out the anonymous mass who walk
on the gabbatha here
the outstanding ones are the tightroped
who dance in blindness on sea-shells
with only the faith of the 153 fish
in eyes silver with a shining
in the nets themselves they would thrash in
in the air that is like the sea
in the sea that is like the air
simple faiths crushed again
on the gabbatha (on the lithostrotos)
I judged before and
was wrong
was wrong
even if every day is the last judgement
and if
they hiss and tut
on the stone pavement
by way
of trumps
burning in the eyes of judges
we tapers
flame for the law because in its sacredness
our own human lights
                                                   (are quenched
in the cheapness of the real
of breads of wines
offerings made to us                   (by publicans
coming to compensate those whom number
blesses not with increase            (but decrease
who smoke by closed shopfronts as if the cigarette
was a major religion
in the white dusts who vy for supremacy
and smoke by closed shopfronts to meditate
                                                    (on death
their angels, of course, cough but don’t complain
their angels
made of the magic:                      (death
I have judged rightly and wrongly
and been judged rightly and wrongly
and my soul has been dustbinned
and I have dustbinned souls
and though I have violated souls
I have no criminal record
souls shine from dust
wish we could fill the empty nets with the 153
and walk
about the streets curing illness and madness
making the career intellectuals look like liars and idiots
in the hellcomb in the dustcomb the blakean figures move
in their gothic bunkers            male forms / female forms
trapped in their half                 in their half of….
not walking on water but wine
counting specks
here on the stone where they judge
wires in ears sounding with alibis
buried with 10,000 songs
that the key charity
would like to reach
and the one commandment
is not to dispossess
the dispossessed
the life the child grows
and falls
in the eyes of others if unchristian
and if
they keep                  on perfecting
the art
                         of impoverishment
Niall McDevitt

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