From Egypt Came

Watch you now how at last the great beast rises once more,
from the shifting sands he rises, flexing pale shriveled limbs
held placid for countless ages as he slumbered on and on
oblivious to the shaking to and fro of his ancient kingdom.

Yet think you not that his weariness hints at demanding labor
for such work has ever been performed by the minions he abhors.
Nay, his sloth is but the outward show of pompous revelry,
carousing by night as his retinue rejoiced in undeserved wealth,
wallowing in pits of luxury and decadence and false assurance.

See you there how with fatuous fury he shakes his shabby mane,
his tattered cape trailing behind, barely touched by the angry winds
that swirl about sightless edifices encrusted with time and terror,
his lumbering steps grazing the harsh crystal bed beneath which
lie the desiccated dead of a spiteful nation’s so pernicious past.

Yet fails he to recall what generations have engraved in their hearts
from sad experience—Egypt never forgets, Egypt never forgets.

See how he swipes at the air, at the very fabrication of a mind bereft
of honest and careful dealing, insensible to history’s mindful lessons,
when all there is is but the scratching of ants crawling through cracks
seething, surging, bitterly biting at his dreary sun baked visage.

At last has he come, his feet firm, his head aloft, he raises his hand,
raises his hand over the still waters with ponderous magnanimity,
mouthing monumental words but to belie such ignoble tradition.

He speaks, speaks and waits, and in watchful silence nearly quakes
for naught occurs in answer to the wretched man’s empty plea.
The waters hold still, no sudden coursing evident, no mighty surge,
no rising beyond their eternal beds to bring fertile hope to the land.

And all at once a mumbling begins, ascending from the weary crowds
on the opposite bank, a mumbling that begets a grumbling that
forms into a shout here and a question there and a pushing and shoving.

And as pharaoh pulls back his quavering hand from heedless waters,
the hand of another is plunged into burning fire, shriveling in fury
even as pharaoh stumbles and shrivels into his worn weathered skin.

Yes, now the crowd cries to the heavens, calling on God Himself
to witness their suffering, to attend their anger, to amend their future,
while the mousy monarch, cowed and quivering, doffs his crown,
relinquishes his scepter and crawls once more into the stone sepulcher
from which it had been best he had never raised his loathsome head.

The lid falls over him with a crash that causes the very earth to tremble
and a crack appears, determinedly snaking its way through the sands to
I know not where. Yet God will surely know. And so approve.

Salt Lake City, 1 March 2011