February 17, 2021
Photo: Pixabay
I was there when the man Moses mounted
a defense of himself: that he needed no dreams,
was never taught to talk out of a trance
and refused all drugs, all fumes; he threw no
bones, inspected no innards, watched no birds.
God spoke to him inside his normal mind
and it was brutal, ceaseless, and it broke him.
The bush, Sinai, the tent he came from glowing,
the parted sea and the whole Torah
poured in its entirety into his heart –
these were needed, but were all that he could bear.
The people were jealous and suspicious
of what they could never take in or contain,
his brother and sister were bitter towards him
and the shape and sound of his wife was lost
beneath the words and the stone and the light.
Some prophets are incapacitated,
some could drool on the ground for days and chant,
or amaze by their feats of starvation –
but he was a leader, naked before them,
and there was no rest, no sleep, for forty years,
until God buried him in an unknown rock
where he could not be bothered anymore.

Tim Miller‘s poetry and essays have appeared in Parabola, The Wisdom Daily, Jewish Literary Journal, Crannog, Southword, Londongrip, Poethead, and others across the US and UK. Two recent books include Bone Antler Stone (poetry, The High Window Press) and the long narrative poem To the House of the Sun (S4N Books). 

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