one he lays his left hand along the beam hand that moulded clay into fluttering birds* hand that cupped wildflowers to learn their peace hand that stroked the bee’s soft back and touched death’s sting two he stretches his right hand across the grain hand that blessed a dead corpse quick hand that smeared blind spittle into sight hand that burgeoned bread, smoothed down the rumpled sea three he stands laborious sagging, split homo erectus, poor bare forked thing hung on nails like a picture he is not beautiful blood sweats from him in rain far off where we are lost, desert dry thunder begins its quiet roar the first drops startle us alive the cloud no bigger than a man’s hand
* According to a legend first recorded in the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, when Jesus was a child he molded sparrows out of clay and then brought them to life. This episode is also referenced in the Qur’an 5:110.
This poem appears in Faith in Her Words: Six Centuries of Women’s Poetry, compiled by Veronica Zundel (Oxford: Lion Books, 1991). Used by permission of the author.
Veronica Zundel is a writer of Christian books, articles, and poetry, living in London. She was born in England in 1953 to Austrian refugee parents (her mother was Jewish) and graduated with a BA in English from Oxford University in 1975. She came to faith in a Baptist church as a teenager and spent time in the Church of England and the Mennonite Church before joining the Methodist congregation she worships with now. Her books include Crying for the Light: Bible Readings and Reflections for Living with Depression, Everything I Know about God I’ve Learned from Being a Parent, and The Lion Book of Famous Prayers, and she contributes regularly to periodicals such as New Daylight and Woman Alive.
One thought on ““A quiet roar” by Veronica Zundel (poem)”
I really liked reading this. The artwork paired with it is lovely as well.