Psalm 14

I bind upon these lips this day
A traitor’s guarantee

I will betray what brings me here
For that which sets me free

I will depart the way so clear
For that I cannot see

For that which glimmers in the grey
& proffers me a key

Kevin Moran – 30/7/10

Whakapapa: This was written after reflection on the theme of betrayal. Betrayal is the opposite of trust. Yet like all opposites, trust & betrayal live in a symbiotic relationship. Betrayal needs trust and trust needs betrayal. Without the possibility of betrayal, trust cannot truly be trust. Without the possibility of trust, betrayal cannot truly be betrayal. In this way they are like faith and doubt. Without the possibility of doubt, faith cannot truly be faith. Without the possibility of faith, doubt cannot truly be doubt.

I wrote the poem in the style of the old Celtic binding prayers. In the old Celtic world, as a person bent to tie his/her shoes, or lace up his/her vest, they might say a binding prayer, i.e. ‘I bind upon myself today/The strong name of the Trinity etc.’ In my poem I bind to myself the power to betray that which does not live… for that which lives. My experience of betrayal as a sacred presence in my life is becoming constant. I have discovered, to truly be myself, I must be prepared to betray the man I was yesterday. I must trust the new life which constantly arises in the moment. I must also be prepared to betray ‘group thinking’ in order to be myself, and in order to bring life to the group. As a poet, unless I am prepared to betray the ‘consensus reality’ of the group or culture, my poems will not be dynamic or challenging. So betrayal becomes a sacred presence: a pathway to life.

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