Yesterday the city got
An earfull and an eyefull:
The sudden improvised parade
(That some would call a mob)
Was followed by a scene
Of shouted threats and violence
(Did those plaited cords he wove
Into a whip find skin
While driving money changers
From the Temple?).
Like a boulder trembling on a hillside,
Or rather like a city occupied
By a callous foreign power
Rebellion hovered in the air.
Collaborators – those who benefit
From embracing foreign overlords –
Must have trembled,
Hands tensed and then relaxed,
But never quite released
From hafts of spears,
From hilts of swords.
Today the city gets to catch its breath.
The voices raised are in debate,
The arguments of scholars in the Temple.
The Galilean teacher’s fame
Has overcome his humble origins.
They would have happily ignored him,
Now he stands and, damn the man,
Confounds them point by point.
Just when it seems they have him trapped
(Let’s force him to a fatal choice
Between rebellion against Rome
And blasphemy against our God)
He slips away and turns the rhetoric
Upon his adversaries.
Beyond these sacred courts
The tension shivers in the city.
The festival has filled the streets
The Roman Governor is resident,
The client King is in his palace, too.
At times like these,
Is there anything