Caiaphas To the Bishop of Lafayette in Indiana in defense of Father Rothrock High Priest of Israel’s nameless God __You were, and though came to possess That charge upon the gentiles’ nod, __It made you Aaron’s heir no less. High Priest, upon that fateful night __You sat at the Sanhedrin’s head Beneath the lamps’ dim, flitting light __To judge a man for what he said. High Priest, that night before you stood __The Cosmic Truth Itself made man, Bound, battered, streaked with drying blood, __Speaking the Truth your law would ban. High Priest, you knew---you recognized __The Truth before your eyes, yet balked. Why else fear him? Why set a prize __Upon His head? Why have Him stalked? High Priest, you cannot dare deny __You knew you saw Truth in Him there; You would not say the Prophets lie, __Whose writings were your trust and care. High Priest, was it from hate or fear __That you condemned the Truth to die? Did you think Truth would disappear __At your command to crucify? High Priest, you placed your faith in Rome __And Caesar, whom you strove to please; And feared the raging mob would come __For you if you refused its pleas. High Priest, you felt the heaving quake __Of mourning Earth the hour Truth died, You saw the Temple’s stonework break, __The Sanctuary’s veil divide. High Priest, at that you must have known __The Truth you killed would soon arise; Why else have Pilate’s guards on loan __To watch a body where it lies? High Priest, why do you still resist __The Truth you spurned and ordered killed? You know He rose, so why persist __When prophecy has been fulfilled? High Priest, your lie calls down your fate: __Your city sacked, your Temple burned Your rites ceased while Truth reigns in state, __Your soul in roiling hellfire churned. Thermidor An Ode to Reaction I The Dog-Star’s and the Lion’s days Oppress with more than searing rays: Fear grips the land, her demons gnaw, __Loosed in a frenzied craze __Now made the only law. The sweltering midsummer heat, The rays that mercilessly beat Make blood flow hot and fast with rage; __Rouse the bowed to their feet, __To burst their self-forged cage. Chorus: O Thermidor, hot Thermidor, Your blazing tropic days restore __A reeling world to life and sense __With new-found will for self-defense. II Far too long has the Terror reigned Far too long have her henchmen stained The once-fair streets with guiltless blood. __No innocence remained __To stave the crimson flood. Far too long have we borne her curse, The manic frenzy to reverse The ways, the faith that bound us all. __To die could not be worse; __To live demands its fall! Chorus: O Thermidor, fair Thermidor, When even cowards fear no more, __When even women rise to arms __To right the toll of endless harms. III Then like this summer afternoon When sun-seared bodies wilt and swoon Until a thundercloud swells high __And the wide Heavens soon __Grows dark as it comes nigh, Then it lets loose a rushing gale, Hurls thunder, lightning-bolts, and hail, And pours deluging torrents down; __So shall our wrath prevail! __So shall our vengeance drown! Chorus: O Thermidor, bright Thermidor, When long-withheld grief bursts to pour __Out with the raging tempest’s force __Upon the heads that were its source. IV Let loose the cry: To arms! Arise! Proclaim it to the highest skies! From windows, rooftops, crossroads, say: __The realm of fear and lies __Now dies. This is our day! Take up the pitchfork, spade, and club! Into the streets! March! Seize and drub All traitors who dare block our way! __With every blow we scrub __The Terror’s stain away. Chorus: O Thermidor, fierce Thermidor The Terror’s minions shrink before __The forces your bright days have stirred __Upon the Fates’ and Angels’ word. V Seize the vile criminals who made Terror our queen, the land afraid. Now let them fear, then let them die __Beneath the very blade __That was their joy to ply. The blade falls; vengeful justice strikes! Now lift the bloody heads on pikes! “Hurrah! Hurrah!” resounds the cheer. __Onward! So must their likes, __Their allies perish here. Chorus: O Thermidor, just Thermidor, High time to settle this, our score--- __No! Rather, to let Truth, and Fate __Spell doom, and Justice vindicate! VI The Revolution eats her own! Her sons now reap what they have sown! Thus always to the Demon’s brood! __And ever be it known __How they fell once we stood. Let all the Terror’s minions fear! Let them quake as our wrath draws near! Her righteous twin, aglow in white, __Thrusts forth her sword and spear __By blood to set wrong right. Chorus: O Thermidor, sweet Thermidor, How much shall bounteous Fructidor __Owe to your rains of tyrants’ blood __That irrigates our native mud! VII The terrorizers’ blood is shed, The Revolution’s hordes lie dead. Now we at last breathe truly free, __Without that beast to dread, __The ape of liberty. It lived and perished by the sword, For flouting order, God, and Word. Up from the wreckage, let us build, __Raise up a world restored __That mad rage nearly killed. Chorus: O Thermidor, great Thermidor, Your name shall live forevermore, __A doubt to make each tyrant quake, __A rock against which mobs shall break, __A time when revolutions shake And perish in their gore. O Thermidor, our Thermidor! Adam Sedia (b. 1984) lives in his native Northwest Indiana, with his wife, Ivana, and their children, and practices law as a civil and appellate litigator. In addition to the Society’s publications, his poems and prose works have appeared in The Chained Muse Review, Indiana Voice Journal, and other literary journals. He is also a composer, and his musical works may be heard on his YouTube channel.