A cheat and killer too;
For thirty bits of silver
He’d slit you through and through.
He skulked in gloomy alleysTo evangelise the rich;
His gospel was the dagger,
His covenant the snitch.
He hung around the backdoorsWhen the labourers came home;
He had no pity on a flabby purse
Nor a frightened moan.
He didn’t attend to the widow,He didn’t cough up for the poor;
He strolled along the High Street
Scattering cheques in every door.
He wasn’t a marvellous husbandNor a father with many ideas;
He squandered every bit of love
And quickly ran up arrears.
He ignored the higher learning,What priests and sages see,
But always boasted in the pub
That the truth had set him free:
That the mob had chosen him squarely,That Pilate had acquiesced;
That the soldiers had shoved him out on the street –
Who cared about the rest?
What obligation should he feel,What urge to make amend?
Be careful how you answer
For you are Barabbas, my friend.
Yes you are Barabbas, the drunken-eyed,Telling your story through,
And I, your fuddled drinking partner –
I am Barabbas too.
====================© December 1979