Twenty-one Sons

An angel was there with a wicker creel to collect the heads.
He was told there would be a number but twenty-one sons
was more than a number. The angel was tempted to drop
his creel and draw his sword and save every mother’s love.
But he had his orders. He stayed his hand. The vengeance
was not his to take, just the heads. He stood at attention as
“Ya Rabbi Yasou” spilled from their gutted throats but could
not tell if what he heard was faith or fear. Probably both.
By the time he finished his task his arms and wings were
ruined red. He had heard the blood of the martyrs is the
seeds of the church. How anemic. He believed the blood of those
sons further filled the cup of foaming wine, fueling the fury.

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  1. Jewels on February 22, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    My breath catches as I read this. You got it just right, John.

  2. Bill Gillin on February 22, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    Pierced my heart, John. You’ve pulled back the curtain on the heavens.
    “9When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. 10They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.”
    Revelation 6:9-11

  3. Michele Morin on February 22, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    Yes, I agree with Bill. The curtain is pulled back in the same way that an earlier John took the Christmas story to another level with his talk of dragons. You have a knack for seeing the unseen, and then bringing your readers along with you.

  4. Rhonda on February 22, 2015 at 8:50 pm

    The image of those men has traumatized and broken our hearts….I can barely speak of it or let myself hear of it ( I have 4 sons myself), but I’m somehow glad that you could express something on their behalf.

  5. Cherry Odelberg on February 24, 2015 at 4:52 am

    The voice of the poet (or songwriter or musician) is so often the voice of a prophet.

  6. pastordt on February 24, 2015 at 6:28 am

    Thank you.

  7. Feeling vs. Emotion | Rachel Franklin Writes on February 25, 2015 at 11:21 am

    […] is much darkness; there are brave people being beheaded, like the 21, for their beliefs; cosmically, ordinary matter is said to be 95% dark and only 5% bright. The […]

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