"Triptych of Jan Des Trompes," Gerard David, circa 1505, Wikipedia photo.
“Triptych of Jan Des Trompes,” Gerard David, circa 1505, Wikipedia photo.

What ritual has this new prophet and his
Disciples adopted? Argean regeneration
Rites, Dionysian Mysteries, described by
Plutarch and Varro, known as Roman
Rain-spells, most reverent purification
Ceremonies, casting out old, ushering
Rain, prayers for fertile fields, followers
Dipped bodily into flowing streams.

Such I witnessed today, John immersing
Their leader, Jesus, who had traveled from
Galilee, now at River Jordan, into nearby
Springs they waded. For what purposes
Would they profane Roman and Greek
Rituals? Alas! They bring suspicion upon
Themselves and their families, heavens
Opening, high-spirits dove descending.

Yes, this was troubling, Roman soldiers
Asking questions, more disciples gathering,
Jesus’ followers washed body and soul,
But from what, leprosy? Confusing ideas,
I pay homage to Roman gods, to Emperor
Tiberius. Yet, quietly I wonder about Jesus,
As I felt something that day, disquieting
At first, now wondrous.

Intriguing similarities one religion to another…
References for first stanza: “The Festivals of the Period of the
Republic,” W. Warde Fowler, M.A., Macmillan and Co., 
1899, pp. 119-120, ex libris University of Liverpool.

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