Court Number One

Court Number One

(Rogier van der Weyden's Last Judgement)

The Judge sits in his domain …
Like Christ Enthroned the judgement framed is all.
Both grief and joy will fall to his dictate
and shape each future mould.

Thus within this court, by Mammon's scale, each soul is sold.

(I know another Judge, a Christ
of such surpassing love
and tender pain … )

The double doors of court release their shame …

They sat together, youngsters, some clothed in gaily coloured cloth,
a girl with flowered bobble hat, defiant of their wrath …
yet hands so tightly held (their bones) as death
had pledged his troth.

These teenage lovers, leading out
all weeping full, as full their rout …

(I see Christ's anguish, without shame:
a face so fraught each soul can gain).

What crime of fashion holds them so,
what stern reproof of blame or blow could bring them
to this state?

But 'time … both judge and tried are racked …

(Dear 'Passion' will you mark our fate
for this domain knows naught but hate)?