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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.