The Fool on the Hill

Throats on the Sword’s Edge 03 of 06


The Fool on the Hill


The cheap tavern for fools and whores

buzzed with boasts and raucous mirth

mingled with laughter and drunken song

for hours had the red wine flowed

though sharp its taste was plentiful

to lubricate voices growing louder

cheese and bread and platters of meat

bunches of grapes and patrolling

flies crawled the trestle tables

glistening wet with spilled wine

and water from finger bowls

and so the afternoon wore on

with thickset hero of the hour

at time bursting into drunken song

then thickly bragging once more

how stupid Romans had been outfoxed

the hero pausing yet again to toast

with cloying wine as red as blood

the fool hanging high up upon the hill

before staggering to reeking vomitorium

then once more to loud merriment

yet all the while

a dagger was in his belt

and sharp sword was near at hand

while javelin leaned against the wall

and clear-eyed lookout was by the door

a whore took renegade’s hand

to lead him upstairs to wanton bliss

when suddenly laughter and banter

dimmed and uneasy murmuring held sway

at light fading fast too early in the day

though it was but mid-afternoon

deepening twilight heralded night

and desert wind that began to moan

then blow in strong gusts was so cold

as sheet lightning slashed through trembling air

while overhead thunder roared and rolled

to shake the tavern’s mud brick walls

and those within with bulging eyes

watched a corpse clad in tattered shroud

suddenly lurch inside through open door

for lookout had already fled

because no lance nor sword

could say nay to walking dead

thus all before corpse cringed back

this harbinger of horror proclaiming death

and in tavern’s gloom and dread

the hero who with both sword and lance

had Romans smote but by them set free

cowered slowly backwards up the stairs

with his sharp though useless dagger drawn

then through a window opened wide

out of a corner of his bloodshot eye

terrified hero saw the fool on the hill

hanging silent, dead and crucified

and Barabbas bolted up the stairs



Over the years on Gather, I have published 10 Easter poems – some of them in a series.  I thought it timely to republish six poems from the collection – one per day until Easter Sunday.  I will use the same series title as I did before.


See also:

Throats on the Sword’s Edge

01 Rope and Tree

02 Do Not Weep for Me

About the Author ()

I am intrigued by the proposition that what you believe is true for you - even if no one else believes it or regards it as true. That you will seek and find evidence proving to you that what you believe is true, despite the beliefs of others. Thereby imp

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