Ward Kelley


I only returned briefly to say this one thing,
to comment once as the christian millennium turns,
so perhaps we too might be able to turn . . . it might
be a good event to display the other cheek,
as I once mentioned . . .

There is a great need to speak to ourselves
concerning the nature of the human being,
that as we become so much more sophisticated
in the way we live, and the way we think,
we might discover a more succinct way
to forgive . . .

Yet I see too that you are like me . . .
indeed, you believe quite firmly
that you are me, and in this I do
find a disquieting oddity . . .
how could a creation of mine
possibly come to think
he is the Creator?

And if I am I,
and you are not,
and I have made you
to come to think
that you are me . . .
perhaps I have assured
there is little chance
anyone will believe
my message of forgiveness,
and this is the great problem
of two messiahs . . .
for forgiveness deserves
a better voice than the untangling
of the two of us.


Artist's note:
USA TODAY, January 5, 1999: Israeli Task Force Tries to Avert Millennial Madness - Local psychiatrists have long recognized a mental condition known as "Jerusalem Syndrome" that affects some visitors to the holy sites. It causes hallucinations, and in some cases leads people to believe they are biblical characters. One director of a Jerusalem psychiatric hospital commented, "There was one case where two different patients insisted they were the Messiah, so I put them in a room together to see if they would come to their senses. It didn't work. Each thought the other was an imposter."