The price of shame is thirty pieces of silver

Sweet Irises, daisies and hibiscus sighed/ when you kissed the beloved of God/ Judas/ they weighted down with the love you felt in the moment/ a love, the Sanhedrin wouldn’t know/ for they were men of law, order/ the fleeting judicial vestments of the ages/ for vindictiveness.

You too, a man of God, Judas/ and you loved like only a man could/ his own brother, his own father, his own master/ a love that made you fear the only one/ who saw in you the darkness of your demons/

Your burgeoning shame at such sordid revelations/ the compassionate son of man felt in you too/as you walked in silence/ among the sleeping olives/ afraid they would see you/ betray your own heart/ for you wished to denounce the humiliation in your tainted veins.

You knew, he knew, you both knew/ yet you both played a game Judas/ of the infinite pain a heart can hold/ for your name never crossed his lips/ and his was planted in your silent kiss/ in the soft whisper of ‘Rabbi’/ In that moment he knew that you loved him/ for he went freely.

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I am not a woman of religion, yet nothing has resonated with me as much as the crucifixion of Christ, that to me stands as the most important aspect of all of the gospels. For in this killing of a man, in the ways that were familiar to the Roman empire, (crucifixion was a common punishment meted out to criminals), there are many aspects to it that stand out as exemplifying the most of our human foibles and flaws. So many parallels can be drawn here to shame, betrayal, humiliation, forgiveness, mental health, depression, self doubt etc.

It’s a story I always revert to when I have to think of the larger issues in life that have petty origins, yet overshadow our thinking and make us lose faith in ourselves and a broader humanity.

Sometimes, I envy the faith of the religious, for theirs is one of acceptance of the ways of the world, a way out of the struggle. Mine is more of a persistent questioning for meaningfulness and the drive to change what is, into what can be or should be or could be. It’s a very rocky path and gives me a hope in humanity which perhaps is as naive as hope in religion or the supernatural, but it feels closer to home and to my own comprehension.

I don’t think that the betrayal of Jesus by Judas of Iscariot makes Judas a traitorous man, for the humanity in him is seen in his remorse. He commits suicide in addition to returning the thirty pieces of silver. I believe it was the shame of being revealed to the one he loved that made him betray Jesus. In fact, Jesus knew he would be betrayed by Judas and Judas knew that too, yet, what was it that allowed them to persist until the garden in Gethsemane. Sometimes it is the interplay of human emotions that drive what is marked down in mythology or history as events of significance. We should attempt to look beyond mere facts as to what truly drives human behaviour. Only in this perhaps, lies a compassionate understanding and acceptance of each other.

I will write more about the themes of the crucifixion that bring me to some important questions, for questions are all I have.

The Gilded Cage

The bars of a cage
at Georgetown Zoo
were no filter
for the humid summer glare
or gaping visitor glances …
You were no threat
and I was no predator,
each safe in our space.

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Yet, when I raised
and pointed my lens
you shielded your sad eyes
(or did I imagine sad)
with your bony hand
and lowered your gaze.
As you averted
your simian face,
did you feel shame?
For I felt shame.
My camera was dead weight that day …

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I respectfully try not to anthropomorphise animals; we can all relate one way or another to other sentient beings.