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The Foreshadowing


One view of the conflict in the Middle East from the 'Reflections' section of THE TWAIN, Poems of Earth and Ether.

A Different Way

The Virgin Speaks

We had to go a different way –
I suppose it was to be expected –
Taking the path that snakes down into Egypt
And the rufous sands of our kindred
Country, shuffling the stones out of place,
The vegetation, itself acicular,
Resembling our abraded mood,
Fraught and fugitive.

Forewarned by a compelling dream,
We speedily forsook our homeland,
And the shabby stable enshrined by Grace,
Wherein the Spirit of our True Abode
Consumed us in its shimmering vision
And we did indeed possess
That Kingdom promised to our
Forefather, Abraham.

How soon the world's rapacious jaws
Were poised to trap the infant Hope of Israel.
Herod trod the warpath, his blood up, lest he be called
To forfeit power. Rather slay the nation's
Innocents, be sure the threat has died
The death, feasting can resume
And the illusion that he alone
Invents salvation.

No resting-place, no refuge then,
The night air gnawed the cheek-skin,
Yet the firmament above hosted the selfsame stars,
Their aspects changing subtly,
That guided men of wisdom,
Rulers of the East, and honest shepherds,
From a cold and rocky altitude
And garnered them.

Oh Abraham, hallowed patriarch!
Spearhead of our toilsome path,
God pledged a race as populous as gems of heaven,
And you believed, but could not trust the manner
Of its coming. You, childless and disdained,
Took matters into your own hands,
Abetted by Sarah, true daughter of Eve,
And begot elsewhere

A bastard line, the Ishmaelites,
Born of your housemaid, Hagar, who scorned
Her mistress' shrivelled womb and barren years,
Earned persecution for her spite and fled
Into the wilderness. It was those ancient footprints
We, the Holy Family, retraced, adjusting
Cosmic balance that quarter might be
Given to exiles.

Time's passed, is passing, will pass,
The sum of it , the essence, still distilling
I am caught up in paradise no mortal mind
Can bear the telling of. All lives, breathes peace
Unclench your fist for Eucharistic Bread,
Earnest of that age-old pact, and you will
Richly gain a foretaste of this Land,
Bending to prayer

The strife on earth does not abate,
And conflict scars the centuries for Jew
And Arab cousins. No ploughshare, no pruning-hook
Their arms foretell.  Ire explodes and gushing blood
The soil stains. Sheol needs no further depths
When they distrust God's will, an inalienable
Commonwealth, plum-rich, and blindly shun
His Different Way.
 


Comments 5

 
Orna Raz on Sunday, 10 August 2014 14:30

Thank you dear Rosy for this beautiful poem. The conflict is never with our brothers/sisters/cousins. It is a conflict of extremists and politicians. As could be seen in so many places in Israel the two sons of Abraham are very much alike and do get along. Yes there are always conflicts and tensions, but it is part of life in a family..

Thank you dear Rosy for this beautiful poem. The conflict is never with our brothers/sisters/cousins. It is a conflict of extremists and politicians. As could be seen in so many places in Israel the two sons of Abraham are very much alike and do get along. Yes there are always conflicts and tensions, but it is part of life in a family..
Rosy Cole on Monday, 11 August 2014 12:50

That is so good to hear, Orna. As with the Civil Wars in Britain in the 17th century, which divided families, there is nothing worse than internecine strife. I'm sure it's true that other powers behind the scenes have fuelled those conflicts and tensions for their own agenda and that the Middle East is a theatre where some very dark struggles are being played out.

Thank you for understanding.

That is so good to hear, Orna. As with the Civil Wars in Britain in the 17th century, which divided families, there is nothing worse than internecine strife. I'm sure it's true that other powers behind the scenes have fuelled those conflicts and tensions for their own agenda and that the Middle East is a theatre where some very dark struggles are being played out. Thank you for understanding.
Nicholas Mackey on Sunday, 10 August 2014 14:37

Beautiful writing about such a sad situation. Very moving and if only the protagonists involved on either side would spare a moment to reflect on what you have expressed in this incredible poem. Thank you, Rosy.

Beautiful writing about such a sad situation. Very moving and if only the protagonists involved on either side would spare a moment to reflect on what you have expressed in this incredible poem. Thank you, Rosy.
Rosy Cole on Monday, 11 August 2014 13:03

I'm so glad it 'spoke' to you, Nicholas. Thank you for stopping by and saying so. I'm aware that to many/most people, this is an idealistic 'take' on one of the world's most devastating problems, and life's challenges in general, but I believe the Power ultimately rests with God and that subscribing to it is a shortcut to peace. Of course, free will is a sovereign concept in this scenario...and global affairs are such that it becomes harder and harder to exercise.

I'm so glad it 'spoke' to you, Nicholas. Thank you for stopping by and saying so. I'm aware that to many/most people, this is an idealistic 'take' on one of the world's most devastating problems, and life's challenges in general, but I believe the Power ultimately rests with God and that subscribing to it is a shortcut to peace. Of course, free will is a sovereign concept in this scenario...and global affairs are such that it becomes harder and harder to exercise.
Katherine Gregor on Monday, 11 August 2014 15:16

A very beautiful, deeply poignant and heartfelt poem, Rosy. Thank you for sharing it.

A very beautiful, deeply poignant and heartfelt poem, Rosy. Thank you for sharing it.
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