Friday, October 15, 2010

The Mark of Cain

Prehistoric Celtic dagger
The emotional impetus for this poem came when I experienced having a gift rejected. Spending time with that feeling allowed me to recast the old biblical narrative of Cain and Abel. An important thing about biblical stories is not so much what they tell us of history, but rather it is what they show us about ourselves. The danger of reading scripture with the attitude of being one of the elect is that we fail to let it show us our own dark corners within.

The Mark of Cain

When God rejected Cain's gift,
Cain flew into a rage
That he had never known before.
It was a rage
Pulled, as it were, from the inside out
Because it was too large for him.
Cain named the rage "Prong-of-Able"
After the tool used in the lamb's slaughter,
For the rage had pierced him through.

Before the rage had gone,
Cain sought out his brother and slew him.
On that day,
God placed a mark upon Cain
For his own preservation.
Because of God's mark
The gift, the rejection, the rage, and the death
Would remain,
And would weave throughout everyone.
The interplay would remain intact
So that all would experience
The gift
And the rejection;
The rage
And the death.
All would know the Prong-of-Abel.

Then God-in-Christ became the gift.
He learned the rejection
And he knew the rage.
So Christ became a trinity of Gift, Rejection, and Rage
As they all three lay
Entombed in death.
Thus were all redeemed and reconciled
In the lamb that was slain
Before the foundation of the world.
And thus did all remain
At the dawn of Creation.

Bronze Age spear point

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