The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.Genesis 6:4
my master, o bride,
he stands before his throne
dribbling wine into his long beard.
O bride, my master cries with laughter;
daughter of Seth,
my master clashes iron, blushing with welts,
with a cinched belt
of gold, with splotches of death coloring
Of the Nephilim is he, beating his bride, daughter of a river
hid their gaunt oxen at his first appearance.
a river-daughter, my mother, she yielded;
my master dangles sons and daughters like trophies
and lines his
hall with river-wives.
The father of father, his father is old, his
white hair circles a veiny crown. In his elder years
he shackles shaking limbs with death-cords.
Snaggle-toothed, father's father
snags sons from the courts of
Seth; they are
that Cain is
little more than the nothings of a
ten-pillared hairy head.
the three-horned monster pets of my master deck
his throne ascent. With trunks for legs,
with jeweled backs for
a carnivorous frog that flaps sticky-traps.
I was a child, o bride,
a child of my master, born to a
a village-daughter, the river-farmer’s daughter, swaddled
in ivy stains and an inexplicable lamb-cloth. My father,
my master came forming crude bonds with her, o
bride, ransacking and rending with fraudulent cords,
and mother loved him.
I played in the fields,
the fields of my
father, with the city-children.
The city, the city of female-spawn, city of
manservants; not so civil was the site
of the chaos and fight, conflicted swords and fists,
bleeding knuckles, swollen wrists.
Affixed is the flesh, o bride, the flesh
of our fathers who turned
us backwards; we stare at ourselves in an imaginary paradise.
Here the women lower their buckets down
deepening wells, wells that thrive with
swords and seething. My master, o
bride, is one with the seething,
one with the swinging sword. I
am alive to both breathe and
to bear a wreath of blades.
On my hands, on my legs, my arms,
my chest burns
funeral pyres and unreal fires. I wonder,
did the Sethites feel this feeling way?
A warrior am I,
little loved, little loving.
And little loving, am I guilty?
For there are more funeral pyres that I worry about.
As my chest unbuttons
beside my bursting hands, legs, and arms
I am one with the swinging sword
and my master
deepens wells, wells that thrive.
Our women with buckets lower their buckets,
staring at our very unbecoming paradise.
Our knuckles and wrists are swollen
and chaos and fight conflict us.
This is our city of female-spawn, this city of many.
There are slaves in the thousands
in the fields of my father, my master.
A child, I played in his fields. And
the mother I loved loved and feared him.
Great was my master who came pillaging,
coming in coyness in one of his
fearful riverboats, pillaging a tribe by the river.
I am his child,
and ten pillars bloat my hairy head.
And in elder years,
my father, your father, your father beats another
the sons of Cain
clash in chaos.
And still, o bride, o daughter of Seth,
I wander and wonder:
Who is my master?
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3 thoughts on “The Mighty”
This is my personal favorite of the poetry I’ve written for REO.
One of the big reasons I like this so much is that it creates a culture that might have existed at that time. The basic line of the poem is the speaker talking to his new bride about the story of his father and mother. He tell’s how his father, his earthly master, was one of the mighty kings of earth who took the daughter of a river-farmer and forced her to be his wife. By the end, the son, as he is relating life under the kingship of his father, seems to be recognizing that he is repeating the cycle of evil and becoming like his dad.
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