G. Gömöri

The Man from Nazareth

Eight hundred crucified Jews
scream from the torn scrolls—
their families massacred before their eyes, cut down,
trampled on by the victor’s executioners.
What, compared to Alexander Yannaios,
was Herod the Great? A bungling child-murderer.
True, his own children were among those he murdered.
But numerically speaking? And then, compared to him,
What of Antipas, King of Galilee? And during
his tepid reign, what of the gentle fool
who was hauled before P. Pilate, the one accused
of “sorcery” and of “aspiring to power”?
A wild dove fluttering in the fire-storm.
And on the other hand
a small fir-cone a forest will grow from,
a cool spring, miraculous water
to quench the thirst of millions who struggle in the desert
of history. And a face so touchingly human
we cannot turn our eyes away from it.

Translated by Clive Wilmer and George Gömöri