Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted himself up, and said unto them, He that is without sin...let him first cast a stone. . .And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. . .
THE FIRST STONE
My name is Saul of Galilee
I'm here to say we gathered that day to test
one who showed the gall to instead test us. Driven
to press into renewed example
a binding point of Law, of sentence rendered
grim but in keeping at the business end of duty's pleasure: justice is
as justice does, God's Will be Done. . .We composed
a field of moral vision
in which, when something moved against it, moved against US.
We saw fit
and see fit to see it for what it was, for what it is,
less for what it might, or could, or even should be. Thus we gathered
to see it through, then, as well to learn how false this "teacher" was, or how true.
Determining if, and finally when, we knew the rightness of our way
and hardly needed some carpenter's son young enough to be my own
advising his elders what to follow of the Law and what to ignore.
I was not alone in having already in hand my stone
by which I displayed the certainty of outcome; though many did likewise,
many hadn't yet;
What's more, however, this unnerving Nazarene, this brazen upstart
drew our attention edgewise in the dust,
where-to he stooped, and those drawn near enough leaned to see
with me, as he said, to: scratch this urge for justice against the heart's touchstone
or cast rock and feed what we reap to a wasted hunger. . .
a spell, that's what it was:
the shape he drew was as if an opening to look through us
we peered as into a well surrounded by desert
this was mercy, he said; and among us there was not enough of it.
I say he "said" --yet he spoke without speaking, it sounded within my head
and others later felt the same, like a sudden sleep with open eyes
a plunge into a dream with yet all in sight the same before as during and after
Then he looked up
what he had drawn guttered in the wind
closing like an eye back into the earth at his feet, a stammery ripple of dust
his gaze met mine and he stood then,
and looked away, saying "He who is without sin...
let him cast the first stone..." A gust finished in a breeze
then complete stillness.
It sank in, as he had to know it would, waiting. . .
I heard one, then two...then four & the rest who held the Law's demand
dropped in a dry spatter to the ground. Only mine
remained in hand. Those without were already leaving
with troubled expressions, looks of guilt, doubt, confusion,
but most of all, etched with an urge to be gone from there.
So, Seizing the moment's last threshold
in thwarted fury I swung hard but wide of the mark on purpose
with righteous regret resigned to miss
even as she (at least, to my satisfaction) flinched & wept. . .
And when I heard he'd been crucified?
I say with neither shame
nor pride: I felt relieved.
COMING sOOn: A short but vivid, hopefully unforgettable "contemporary" music video with percussion loop made from the rhythm of stones released by accusers through a searing 'cascade' of awareness that (especially) those most eager to follow the letter of fatal patriarchal Law would suddenly have to decline a sly Avatar's "public invitation" to cast the first stone. ("Auditioning" plausible facial expressions (side-long glances, etc) & "awkward" letting-go-with-hope-of-no-one-noticing). . .
Peter Gabriel's "Last Temptation Of Christ" soundtrack stands as the atmospheric musical aspiration/inspiration...