I watched in silence as violent winds
stirred grains of desert sand to clash
and bury each other in mindless waste.
Here I am, Hagar,
a noble daughter of the sacred Nile-
a pharaoh’s political gift
to a wealthy nomad chieftain-
a harem gift to serve him
and his clever sister-wife.
The sun god swiftly rises
and breathes hot upon
our smothering, restless tents.
I awakened thirsty for freedom
and rush to serve another’s needs.
Combing her hair in silence,
I begin to wonder
how it all came to be-
to the gods and goddesses-
the endless blood sacrifices
of man and beast
before, after and between their wars…
Suddenly aware as I humble myself
to glorify this woman and her hair
that I, too, in lifetimes past
glorified war and death by violence-
of mad men and angry gods-
angry men and gods gone mad
with conquest and revenge.
How did it come to be
that the all-powerful
Creator of all
was so powerless
as to need a nomad tribe
to fight as ally in a minor war…
The reward of promised land,
great wealth, divine favour
and countless children
to be born like desert sands…
Fierce warriors these nomads are-
the war prize covenant contract
a deed begetting countless deeds
that serve the warrior god of theirs
in continual sacrifice…
His angels come.
The chieftain calls his sister-wife
and I must serve these men
with need of food and drink-
these honoured guests of
flesh and blood.
The Order of Melchizedek
brings more secret messages
from their grateful god.
Then I watch them throw the bones-
divining a future to manipulate
and shape to their own ends.
They throw the bones for others
but I can also see
what lies ahead for me-
false promises and deceiving lies
to me and mine, used and abused-
cast out to die-
then when life itself seems lost
they come again-
these angels of an ancient Order.
It is not the mercy of their god
for me and mine
but the keeping of a covenant contract
and the power of their beliefs-
separation and superiority codified-
the Creator’s supposed favouritism
I see their god selects
only the chosen few
through race, rituals of worship,
commitment to obedience…
only the chosen few
as worthy of divine favour,
the ‘promised’ land of heaven and earth,
great wealth and world domination-
‘kings and priests forever’.
This is their promised inheritance-
this divided family about to feud.
I wonder how long this could last-
this feud over inheritance such as this?
I shudder in the blazing heat
seeing the role I’m forced to play.
I must keep my silence and just pray
we’ll all find our way
to live a more enlightened day.
(Dedicated to my late dear friend Sarah T. This poem was written in October 2007 and revised September 2019)