Peter's denial.

A poem based on the Biblical account of Peter's denial of Jesus.

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1. Peter's denial

The hour was late. The night was dark.

The courtyard was bereft of lark,

Or flower, or gift, or anything

With which to greet the Heavenly King.

 

Inside, before the court, He'd gone,

Condemned for being God's own Son:

For all the truth He freely taught;

For the miracles He freely wrought.

 

I stood alone for quite a while.

Then John came, and, without a smile,

He beckoned me to follow him.

His face looked grave in the twilight dim. 

 

I followed him inside the gate.

Perhaps, in hindsight, it was fate

That the girl who kept the door stood by,

And, looking at me with a steady eye,

 

Said: "I'm sure I know you, sir.

Are you not friends with that foul cur

Who now is tried for blasphemy?

Do you not know Him? Answer me!"

 

My body quaked. My frame, it shook.

One single, hurried glance I took

To ensure that John was not nearby.

Then, with a single, quiet sigh,

 

I told her: "No, young maid, I swear

By all on earth that I hold dear:

I do not know the man you mean."

She nodded once, but her gaze was keen.

 

I walked with haste through the open door.

Lying there upon the floor,

There was a burning, glowing fire.

I warmed myself. A man said: "Sire,

 

Are you not that scoundrel's friend -

One of those that He did send

To preach His vulgar blasphemy

And spread His foulest heresy?"

 

"No, sir, I promise you, I never

Knew the man. I have not ever

Talked with him. I have not heard,

Nor thought upon, nor preached His word."

 

"No, no!" Another man now spoke -

One of the High Priest's serving folk.

"I saw you in the garden, sir!

You were with Him! Do not demur!"

 

"Good people, I assure you, I

Have not in this thing told a lie!

I do not know the man! I swear!

I swear, on all that I hold dear!"

 

The night had passed; it was the morn.

The cockerel crowed to greet the dawn.

And then the Saviour stared at me,

And I remembered suddenly what He

 

Had told me, not so long before.

I ran out of the open door,

And there, upon the frozen ground,

I wept bitterly, without a sound,

 

But screaming deep within my soul.

I longed for Him to make me whole,

As He had healed all those before.

"Forgive me, Lord! Please! I implore!"

 

Yet He was gone. He could not hear

My anguished words. And many tears

Streamed down my face. I had denied

My Lord, my God. Oh! how I cried!

 

To this day, it still makes me sigh

In shame. And I am sure that I

Shall not forget until I die

The look with which He held my eye.

 

 

 

 

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