HELEN BOWELL – NORTH EAST
I wandered forty years for you, an angry man
in an angry desert, stomping out the hundred
thousand million miles home.
They followed me as if I knew what I was doing,
as if you’d told me anything, as if you’d given me
a single word.
Yes, you provided sand-encrusted bread, and a stick
that once parted the sea, but the death you pushed
into my hands – you made a blind executioner of me,
lord, a helpless ruler whose utility was measured
in plagues and hangings.
How could you punish sheep for misunderstanding?
As I slaughtered thousands of my own I could only pray
you’d be kinder. I could only search each sandy second
for something yet unbroken. Some peaceful land would be
a nice token.
Lord, I don’t want your desert Love,
your human Milk or bloody Honey:
in this sick Sinai heat, they’re all going off.