Wednesday, August 11, 2010


What is it about a story of gross imbalance?
The Spartans hemmed by two million Persians;
Theseus and the Minotaur; Jonah
inside the Whale. And the most-cited one
of the Biblical would-be king
hurling a rock that, in my mind, did not possess
luminary smoothness, a neat crosswise design
or any mark of Providence. It was
an ordinary hunk of earth, picked off an ordinary plain
of dust, rolled in the boy’s palm
as the armor was fitted across Goliath’s shoulders.
When he emerged from the tent-mouth like a monstrous
god being born, it was dull brown
eyes watching him, and slight forearms
tensed like strips of leather
from an unremarkable calf, bled like any other.
He might have bowed his head, in prayer or fear, before the object
was whirled round and let go
striking the giant’s orbit, crushing the temple. It was
deemed a miracle. What is it about
a story of wild implausibility to make us feel
everything that never happens
will? The accuracy was nothing—luck or God.
What moves us is the rush of blood and courage
that spins the stone into the sunblind noon.