Little Knowing, a lonely desert bird

Chorui_Bird_in_Mymensingh
House sparrows in Bangladesh (cropped) courtesy of Audree at en.wikipedia [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons.

For some reason hymns, sermons and church architecture invigorate my creativity. Yet the result usually explores a counter-narrative, such as in “Just Punishment“, a poem written this time last year which re-imagines the scene of Proverbs 7.

The standard interpretation of this chapter is that the pursuit of wanton desires results in people’s downfall. The femme fatale is an adulterous woman, whose “house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death.” (Proverbs 7: 27) The seductive woman is the danger; the wayled is the compliant man.

I watched the minister grow more red-faced as he brought his emphasis – a rail against internet porn – to a crescendo, and at that moment for some reason I saw a tiny bird hopping on desert sands. Alone, naive and in want of comfort was the little bird. A pretty lady, alluring and soft-voiced, takes the little bird into her heart. But this is the downfall, and for their transgressions they are punished. She is stoned to death by the tribe and Little Knowing is hanged.


A few months later, I wrote a poem about the forgotten raven in the story of Noah’s Ark.

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