Poem: Query by Damian Walford Davies

A poem from our Summer 2014 issue by Damian Walford Davies. From his forthcoming book Judas… 


Who do you say
I am? he posed,
apropos of nothing,

his gutting knife
poised at the rude
gash of a gill.

Out rolled
the same old
smooth replies.

I was tugging free
the lewd slug of a liver.
Who do you say

you are? I asked.
He resumed the knife’s
intimate intifada,

its flashing
hack and slash
a retort of sorts.


This is one of three poems by Damian Walford Davies from the Judas sequence originally published in Poetry Wales 50.1, Summer 2014. Judas will be published by Seren in 2015:

In this new collection, a shattered Judas Iscariot – that byword for betrayal – tells his own story. There are records to set straight. Trying to make sense of the bewildering events of the past year, and of the terror of the past few days, Judas moves through first-century Jerusalem in historical stereo, fully aware of the turbulence of twentieth- and twenty-first-century history and the contours of the modern city. Drawing on conflicting representations of Judas spanning twenty centuries, this chain of poems sets out to challenge orthodoxies and easy pieties. It offers an imaginative map of centuries-old violence – and dares to hint at resolutions – in the form of a dramatic (and fabling?) biography of the man whose most famous act (they say) was a kiss in the dark.