Law and Sexuality

A commentary and resource on Law and Sexuality by Professor Chris Ashford and guests

Bye Bye Blasphemy

One story that broke during my blogging hiatus last month was the Bye Bye Blasphemy party held in London, celebrating the repeal of the blasphemy laws in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act. As I’ve previously blogged, that legislation also introduced the ill thought out violent pornography legislation. The Pink Paper reports that at this celebration Ian McKellen read out the poem ‘The Love That Dares to Speak Its Name’ by James Kirkup. The poem was at the heart of a blasphemy prosecution of Gay News in the 1970’s after it published the poem. That case went to the European Court of Human Rights and makes it interesting reading. Take a look at Gay News Ltd. and Lemon v United Kingdom (1983) 5 E.H.R.R. 123 and R v Lemon, R v Gay News Ltd. [1978] 3 W.L.R. 404. Both are available on Westlaw. There are some linked journal articles there too.

The poet James Kirup was from South Shields and a collection of his work and artefact’s are stored in the North East at the James Kirup Collection.

The Love That Dares To Speak Its Name

By James Kirkup

As they took him from the cross
I, the centurion, took him in my arms-
the tough lean body
of a man no longer young,
beardless, breathless,
but well hung.
He was still warm.
While they prepared the tomb
I kept guard over him.
His mother and the Magdalen
had gone to fetch clean linen
to shroud his nakedness.
I was alone with him.
For the last time
I kissed his mouth. My tongue
found his, bitter with death.
I licked his wound-
the blood was harsh
For the last time
I laid my lips around the tip
of that great cock, the instrument
of our salvation, our eternal joy.
The shaft, still throbbed, anointed
with death’s final ejaculation .
I knew he’d had it off with other men-
with Herod’s guards, with Pontius Pilate,
With John the Baptist, with Paul of Tarsus
with foxy Judas, a great kisser, with
the rest of the Twelve, together and apart.
He loved all men, body, soul and spirit. – even me.
So now I took off my uniform, and, naked,
lay together with him in his desolation,
caressing every shadow of his cooling flesh,
hugging him and trying to warm him back to life.
Slowly the fire in his thighs went out,
while I grew hotter with unearthly love.
It was the only way I knew to speak our love’s proud name,
to tell him of my long devotion, my desire, my dread-
something we had never talked about. My spear, wet with blood,
his dear, broken body all open wounds,
and in each wound his side, his back,
his mouth – I came and came and came .
as if each coming was my last.
And then the miracle possessed us.
I felt him enter into me, and fiercely spend
his spirit’s finbal seed within my hole, my soul,
pulse upon pulse, unto the ends of the earth-
he crucified me with him into kingdom come.
-This is the passionate and blissful crucifixion
same-sex lovers suffer, patiently and gladly.
They inflict these loving injuries of joy and grace
one upon the other, till they dies of lust and pain
within the horny paradise of one another’s limbs,
with one voice cry to heaven in a last divine release.
Then lie long together, peacefully entwined, with hope
of resurrection, as we did, on that green hill far away.
But before we rose again, they came and took him from me.
They knew no what we had done, but felt
no shame or anger. Rather they were gald for us,
and blessed us, as would he, who loved all men.
And after three long, lonely days, like years,
in which I roamed the gardens of my grief
seeking for him, my one friend who had gone from me,
he rose from sleep, at dawn, and showed himself to me before
all others. And took me to him with
the love that now forever dares to speak its name.
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This entry was posted on July 7, 2008 by in Censorship, Law, North East, Religion.

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