It’s been quite a while since I have written anything here, life having a way of slowing me down in my writing of late. But in the weeks leading up to Advent this year I’ve decided to write a series of poems looking at seven figures from the Bible whose lives helped pave the way for Jesus’ birth, however insignificant they seemed at the time. Today’s poem looks at one of the most significant but most overlooked figures of the Bible’s early chapters, the third son of Adam and Eve.
And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.” (Genesis 4:25)
After the violence of my brothers -
one cursed, one buried - I was like
a quiet armistice in my mother's breath,
my name itself like breathing -
a lisping comfort,
a hush to the Earth's howling noise.
If the soil cried out for my brother's blood,
my blood flowed as a promise in my veins,
like the words my mother sang by my bed:
snakes' heads crushed, human heels bruised.
As I grew, I bruised, and I healed,
and when, a man, I held
my own child's fledgling form, I swear I saw promise pulsing in that vernixed face.
Beside the hatred of my broken race,
another story whispered.