Thursday, 28 April 2016

Absalom (edit 1)

The picture, from a book my mother gave me
back when I was just a child, tried to draw
the reader’s eye to the shock of black hair
that had willfully managed to tangle itself
into the low hanging branch of a tree

his mule moved forward
his enemies drew close behind
Absalom, lifted up away from his saddle, dangled
waited for the killing blow.

What I recall all these years later was the distress
on Absalom’s face as he realized that hope

could be snatched away by the thing he loved most.

David wept at the news – and isn’t that just the way
that when the son is gone, the father remembers
the smell of his scalp, the feel of his hand,
the way he looked at you as if you were a living God?

And now at the death, David is alone, Absalom’s wrongs
forgotten, the bitter words lost, the anger a breeze that chill’s the heart
leaving behind only the emptiness where once Absalom,
David’s son – and all those that would follow him - had dwelt.

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