Sunday, 10 March 2013

Sunday Poem

Growing up, I barely knew the Bible, but read
and reread the part when Cain drifted east
or was drawn that way, into a place of desolation,
the land of Nod, there to begin, with a wife 
of unknown origin, another race of men,
under the mark of God. As a boy, I thought Nod
would be a place where the blue scillas
would bloom gray, a country of the rack and screw, 
the serrated sword, where the very serving cups
were bone. As a grown man, I’ve heard that Nod
never was a nation—of Cain’s offspring, or anyone—
but a mistranslation of “wander,” so Cain 
could go wherever, and be in Nod. Far more
than in God, I believe in Cain, who destroyed
his own brother, and therefore in any city
could have his wish, and be alone.
From Charms Against Lightning (2012) by James Arthur.

(Painting "Cain Kills Abel" by Bartolomeo Manfredi.)

No comments: