Monday, August 6, 2012

Cain's Murder of Abel


Abel looked at the wound
His brother had dealt him, and love him
For it. Cain saw that look
And struck him again. The blood cried
On the ground; God listened to it.
He questioned Cain. But Cain answered:
Who made the blood? I offered you
Clean things: the blond hair
Of the corn; the knuckled vegetables; the
Flowers; things that did not publish
Their hurst, that bled
Silently. You would not accept them.

And God said: It was part of myself
He gave me. The lamb was torn
From my own side. The limp head,
The slow fall of red tears—they
Were like a mirror to me in which I beheld
My reflection. I anointed myself
In readiness for the journey
To the doomed tree you were at work upon.

--R.S. Thomas
From R.S. Thomas, Poems of R.S. Thomas (Fayetteville, AR: U of Arkansas, 1984), pp. 74-5.

Related reading:  R.S. Thomas' poem Poetry for Supper

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