Tepid hospitality

Turning away from the righteous Pharisee
he looked with love
upon the subject of his host’s derision.
The unnamed woman knew her place,
and had knowingly disregarded all the conventions,
upsetting more than a jar of ointment.
The consensus was clear: this woman
did not fit in with polite company.
She belonged out there,
in the shadowed places,
where ambiguities abound
and sinners lead their anxious lives.
Not in here, where the well-mannered Simon
extends his tepid hospitality
to this latest sensation,
the wandering teacher from the provinces;
he, at least, had an invitation.
With his feet still wet from ointment and tears,
the man speaks softly of warm forgiveness,
of welcome, gratitude, love and peace.
He does not care for the cold and calculating rules
by which respectable society is ordered;
and outrageously says so.

© Ken Rookes 2013


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