by Josephine Miles[1]

Goliath stood up clear in the assumption of status,
Strong and unquestioning of himself and others,
Fully determined by the limits of his experience.
I have seen such a one among surgeons, sergeants,
Deans and giants, the power implicit,

Then there was David, who made few assumptions,
Had little experience, but for more was ready,
Testing and trying this pebble or that pebble,
This giant or that giant,
He is not infrequent.

How could Goliath guess, with his many assumptions,
The force of the slung shot of the pure-hearted?
How could David fear, with his few hypotheses,
The power of status which is but two-footed?
So he shot and he shouted!

by Thomas W. Shapcott
From Portrait of Saul[2]

Yes, but to remember them for their love
is to remember them for their youth: Laughter,
not a covert whispering; the noise clatter
of playing field and bodies so alike they move
in a teamwork; do not suppose that what they give
each other is theirs to hold or withhold. Bitter
and old I watch how they embrace each other
free with the one gift I no longer have.

The strings of David's harp are bars of a cage.
a sour taste corrodes through his sweet song.
I am afraid. The desires of a King
are comfortless: my Palace holds me hostage.
And, if I had him, what then could I, Saul,
Do but mortify, condemn, despoil?

[1] "David" by Josephine Miles from "Poems:1930-1960." Indiana Univ. Press.back
[2] "Jonathan and David" by Thomas W. Shapcott, from "Portrait of Saul." "Selected Poems" by permission of Univ. of Queensland Press. back

Does David Still Play Before You? Israeli Poetry and the Bible, David C. Jacobson. © Wayne State University Press, 1997. Reprinted by permission of WSUP.

David Curzon, editor: Modern Poems of the Bible: An Anthology (JPS, 1994) ISBN: 0-8276-0449-1



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