Back From The Land of Nod. . . Ballad of the Goodly Fere

Rough Sea At Staithes
Rough Sea At Staithes
A big thanks to Carolyn and Mark King for recommeding the following selection...

I love the portrayal of Jesus and his followers in this piece - it sheds light on Christ's human life as a strong and masculine man, who not only bore the spiritual weight of the world, but also lived a very human life. When it comes to Jesus, Christan literature and the theological school of thought focuses very much on healing and miracles and all other kinds of cosmic transactions.

But I personally  feel that one of the most overlooked things about The Son of God is that he did posses a human body, and led a very human life. When he wasn't healing the blind and walking on water, he was doing things that all humans do - laboring, sleeping, eating and living amongst his fellow man. Think about the fact that Jesus didn't just have followers - but that he had friends. He lived with them, he laughed at many of the same things, they shared their thoughts, they went fishing. They died and he died, and though he later rose, this death was devastating to the men and women who loved him.

These are the many ways that Jesus becomes real to us, this more tactile, relateable man . Today different people see Jesus in different ways. they may believe in Jesus as the Son of God and God,himself, and some people believe that he was more sinply, a heaven sent prophet. Although that sounds odd to say, because the truth is that all of these beliefs are very epic in nature. This can sometimes lead to intimidation and confusion, where a more spiritual emotion should be felt.

I sometimes feel this way.

 Do you?

But as soon as I begin to feel overwhelmed by these ideas, I come across something like this poem by the great Ezra Pound, in which Jesus is more like you and me than ever. A human man with a human body.  But. . . even with the idea of the spiritual removed, we see Jesus as a force of nature - a strong, brawny man, who according to his comrades or, feres if you will, experiences some quite harrowing adventures.

The Ballade Of The Goodly Fere


Ezra Pound

Simon Zelotes speaking after the Crucifixion. Fere=Mate, Companion.

Ha' we lost the goodliest fere o' all
For the priests and the gallows tree?
Aye lover he was of brawny men,
O' ships and the open sea.

When they came wi' a host to take Our Man
His smile was good to see,
"First let these go!" quo' our Goodly Fere,
"Or I'll see ye damned," says he.

Aye he sent us out through the crossed high spears
And the scorn of his laugh rang free,
"Why took ye not me when I walked about
Alone in the town?" says he.

Oh we drank his "Hale" in the good red wine
When we last made company,
No capon priest was the Goodly Fere
But a man o' men was he.

I ha' seen him drive a hundred men
Wi' a bundle o' cords swung free,
That they took the high and holy house
For their pawn and treasury.

They'll no' get him a' in a book I think
Though they write it cunningly;
No mouse of the scrolls was the Goodly Fere
But aye loved the open sea.

If they think they ha' snared our Goodly Fere
They are fools to the last degree.
"I'll go to the feast," quo' our Goodly Fere,
"Though I go to the gallows tree."

"Ye ha' seen me heal the lame and blind,
And wake the dead," says he,
"Ye shall see one thing to master all:
'Tis how a brave man dies on the tree."

A son of God was the Goodly Fere
That bade us his brothers be.
I ha' seen him cow a thousand men.
I have seen him upon the tree.

He cried no cry when they drave the nails
And the blood gushed hot and free,
The hounds of the crimson sky gave tongue
But never a cry cried he.

I ha' seen him cow a thousand men
On the hills o' Galilee,
They whined as he walked out calm between,
Wi' his eyes like the grey o' the sea,

Like the sea that brooks no voyaging
With the winds unleashed and free,
Like the sea that he cowed at Genseret
Wi' twey words spoke' suddently.

A master of men was the Goodly Fere,
A mate of the wind and sea,
If they think they ha' slain our Goodly Fere
They are fools eternally.

I ha' seen him eat o' the honey-comb
Sin' they nailed him to the tree.

Back from Nod #10


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