POEM Damian Walford Davies

NWR Issue 104

Four Poems from Judas

In the forthcoming collection from Seren, Judas, from which these poems are excerpted, a shattered Judas Iscariot – that byword for betrayal – tells his own story. Trying to make sense of the bewildering events of the past year, and of the terror of the past few days, Judas moves through first-century Jerusalem in historical stereo, fully aware of the turbulence of twentieth- and twenty-first-century history and the contours of the modern city. Drawing on conflicting representations of Judas spanning twenty centuries, this sequence sets out to challenge orthodoxies and easy pieties. It offers an imaginative map of centuries-old violence – and dares to hint at resolutions – in the form of a dramatic biography of the man whose most famous act (they say) was a kiss in the dark.

from Annunciation 2

Pinch out all the lamps;
I want to raise him
in the dark.

It was the morning after
the Ramla job.
I’d bodged it – cockeyed

lunge, my rash stab
out of true...

Damian Walford Davies is Professor of English at Cardiff University. He is the author of Suit of Lights (2009), Witch (2012) and the forthcoming Judas (2015), all from Seren. 2015 will also see the publication of Alabaster Girls with Rack Press.

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previous poem: Your Mother, My Daughter, and You, Her Son
next poem: Llafar


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