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.
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