Sunday, November 27, 2005

The raven's tale

For forty days we had huddled in the rafters
Birds of every kind, squabbling over perches,
While the roof of the Ark was hammered
By incessant rain; through cracks in the shutters
I could see the swirling waters, heavy with silt,
Swelling and flowing around the boat

Then one dawn we woke in great surprise
Some change had happened, but what?
It took some time to realise
It was the silence, the absence of sound:
The rain had stopped;
We chattered in excitement

Noah strode in from the stern
His face drawn and pale
His clothes stained and damp
But relief filled his eyes
"It's over", he said, "We've come through"
We didn't know what he meant
"We'll start afresh - now all I need
Is a creature to search for land
As the water drops"

The dove, primping his white feathers,
Lifted his head high for notice
Raising envious glances
From his neighbours
But not from me

Noah shrewdly assessed the candidates:
Too fat, too slow, too dumb
He passed the dove and selected me
"Go, find a tree, quick as you can,
And bring a leaf to show me
That we can start our lives again"

Off I flew, fast and high, and straight
Lazily flapping my wings
Crossing the calming waves
Looking down for a trace of green
On and on, further and further,
Until, days later, I saw a rock
A pinnacle of some great mountain
Standing just proud of the sea
And landed there to rest

Later, much later, I heard the story
Of how the dove got on
Became a symbol for peace
For a covenant between God and man
And was blessed by Noah;
But I also heard rumours
That Noah dined on pigeon pie

I made my own way,
Needing nobody's grace,
Content to fly
Until my goal appears.

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