Closing the scroll and sitting down to preach

He went to war. His people, tired by the quern

Or the long slog at the plough, might hope to reach

A blurred tranquility, but not to burn


As the lines did in the old book when they claimed

That every prison should be breached, the blind

Drink at the blessed font of light, the maimed

Walk tall, the poor be heard when they spoke

 their mind.


He knew a maggot in their hearts, the one

that eats away at the long hopes, to unman

Even the boldest. “Nothing under the sun

Endures,” it said. “All is under a ban.”


Now or never, he thought, and made his play,

His body, a prophet’s, out on the line, to stay.


(Luke 4:16–22)

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Published in the 2010-12-17 issue: View Contents
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