The Lydia Stone

judas kiss

Condemned to shine, it’s rubbed or cut and set
Within a thorny gallery. Clean to bone,
The chasing hammer cleaves – and eyes forget
Their first impressions, leaving God alone.

With perpendicular inlay of place
And time, such stone is cold as early spring;
Its dogwood winter strikes a lifted face
For silver coins; it sounds the golden ring.

Its standard currency becomes the name
That royalty bestows with spreading palms.
It bites against the grain; it drills for flame
As shadows beg to seize at midday’s alms.

The ancients rightly called it βάσανος
For proving mettle with a tortured kiss.


  1. Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

    ‘Got’ the analogy on third reading, after looking up βάσανος.
    I hope this stays with me for 40 days at least. I bet it will.

    If it were up to me, you’d get 10 years off Purgatory for each pun you use to glorify the Λόγος.

    • So the poem didn’t rub you the wrong way, then?


      Thanks for reading!


      • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

        Thanks for writing!

        If you’re at liberty to disclose a secret of the craft: About how much time passed between the moment the analogy first clearly occurred to you and the moment the poem achieved its present form?

        • I could tell you, but then I’d have to acrosticize you.

          No, i guess, research and all considered, about four to five hours.

          It started with the Lydia Stone and took off from there…


  2. Well, it’s sheer hubris for me to plunk this into this particular spot, but this is a poem and here is a sort of poem to commemorate the day.


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