Poetry Daily: http://www.poems.com/

Wisdom of Solomon (XIX)

     1. Post-Flood, the world was scoured clean—
sanitized, baptized spic-and-span.
Gone was overhangin clouds;
up leapt grass outta recedin waves.

     2. But sinners spawned new Oppression;
so that serfs again swung low into cotton;
or cotton-pickin machete swingers waded
into sugar-cane jungles;
harvests became boodle in treasuries;
warhorses got harnessed to chariots;
chariots got outfitted with scythes;
the plutocrats took command
and assigned preachers to inform the poor
that their hungers and pains result from Sin.

     3. Commenced afresh Corruption.
Virgins’ ankles embraced centaurs’ hooves;
axe-murderers swung at turbans;
scabrous kings gibbeted seraphic, droop-winged nymphs.

     4. Spurning bumbling hubby and fumbling groom,
Mamas sold pussy for bread.

     5. Anger tripped up their heels; Lust dizzied em.
Down deep, deep down, they plummeted,
while angels cheered on high,
jeering at these flaming, crisping falling.

     6. The degenerates screamed, Basta! Basta! Basta!*
Friday-faced, gloomy, the harlots charred,
becoming Hell’s incinerated inmates.

     7. Globally, frogs and locusts burst outta cold mists,
and wracked green crops brown and black.

     8. Lions turned sharks, killin for sport, not nutrition.

     9. Animals and elements mixed up—as if trumpets
could be beaten like drums.
Likewise, crows became blizzards
and coal became wolves.

     10. Fire now ate up water.

     11. The iniquitous toppled into the dark liquidity
of crypts.

[YAM (Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario) 30 mars mmxvii
& Ottawa (Ontario) 10 avril mmxvii]

∗ Italian: Enough. The epithet equals a barley-fumble,
i.e., a call for a truce by the losing side.

George Elliott Clarke

African American Review

Fall 2018

To view this poem online, visit the Poetry Daily archive at http://www.poems.com/archive.php
View a large-print version of this poem