Friday, November 19, 2004

Who the Meek Are Not

Not the bristle-bearded Igors bent
Under burlap sacks, not peasants knee-deep
In the rice-paddy muck,
Nor the serfs whose quarter-moon sickles
Make the wheat fall in waves
They don’t get to eat. My friend the Franciscan
Nun says we misread
That word meek in the Bible verse that blesses them.
To understand the meek
(She says) picture a great stallion at full gallop
In a meadow, who—
At his master’s voice—seizes up to a stunned
But instant halt.
So with the strain of holding that great power
In check, the muscles
Along the arched neck keep eddying,
And only the velvet ears
Prick forward, awaiting the next order.

--Mary Karr


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