Saint Peter

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by Guy Walker (December 2019)


The Liberation of St. Peter, Hendrick van Steenwyck the Younger, 1619

 

My substance was not hid from thee

 

 

The torchlit bloody blow for all to see,

a macho gesture aping bravery;

resort to violence made, would this distract

convincing of ability to act?

The first ‘heroic’ virtue-signaller,

he learnt that night the hardest way, from her,

a girl, the worth of all his bombast. She

lay bare with words the full anatomy

of cowardice, though unaware of his

disgrace. She spatchcocked raw, in spite of this,

his useless, craven heart and left all willed

pretence a futile game once morning filled

the town with sound and blanching light,

confirming knowledge which he could not fight;

a knowledge irreversible that quelled

all struggle. Stunned, unmanned, though still propelled,

he came, as limp as empty cloths he saw,

in automatic daze, then, to the shore

another morning. Rising from a lake-

side fire, unburdened of pretence, to take

new steps beneath the orange shreds of cloud

at dawn. He re-engaged, this time unbowed

by old imprisonments whose chains each time

were shattered by an angel; now, no crime

to answer after all that grief. The boast

his thuggery pretended placed him most

esteemed above the others. Finally,

thus, sweet and welcome fittingness would be

fulfilled as his upending came. His pain

and gall would set the world to rights again.

 

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Guy Walker a retired French teacher living in the South of England. In addition to writing poetry, Guy has published articles on political and health issues in The Conservative Woman He is technically a Catholic with a predilection for a conservative outlook. He blogs at roseatetern.blogspot.com.

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast

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