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POEM

ST PETER

GUY WALKER

1st December, 2020

Christian Nitz, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

St Peter


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.