But Peter denied it. “I do not know or understand what you mean,” he replied. Then he went out into the porch;
so caught up
from the crowd
though recognizing me
that gift beyond gifts
is not returned
and blocks my seeing
what I’ve come to
only denial rings out
a once-changed heart
we can’t even hear
a raucous rooster
a new day’s presence
Peter’s denial is not as outright as it might seem. The Greek ἀρνέομαι (arneomai, disregard interest, deny) here means “I couldn’t care less.” There is a disowning of interest, a distancing from the matter at hand.
Peter proceeds to double down on his dismissal of the testimony against him with nearly identical statements. This intentional lack of identification adds to the other false witness statements inside the show-trial as Peter positions himself slightly farther away from Jesus.
Shifting locations is not as dramatic as the inclusion of a public erasure of himself from the company of those who were with Nazarene Jesus, now being betrayed by false statements unto death both within and outside the hastily gathered “court”. Even more than the running away and then following at a distance, this refusal to witness on the edge of the action is the larger betrayal. This is also the place Readers usually find themselves. It is this not being faithful in small ways that leads to not being faithful in critical ways. This is a failure in leadership that religious, as well as state, leaders all too easily justify as allowing some later good.
When there are several versions of a text, translators depend on their choice of text to translate to assist them in transforming one language into another.
While the majority of ancient manuscripts have a crowing rooster at the end of this verse, it is not needed for the narrative and it is not supported by Matthew, Luke, or John. Check your favorite translation to see whether or not a rooster is present in this verse. I can’t speak to the choice of some translations to include it here. My own translation omits it.