Verse > Siegfried Sassoon > Picture-Show

Siegfried Sassoon (1886–1967).  Picture-Show.  1920.

16. Ancient History

ADAM, a brown old vulture in the rain, 
Shivered below his wind-whipped olive-trees; 
Huddling sharp chin on scarred and scraggy knees, 
He moaned and mumbled to his darkening brain; 
‘He was the grandest of them all—was Cain!         5
‘A lion laired in the hills, that none could tire; 
‘Swift as a stag; a stallion of the plain, 
‘Hungry and fierce with deeds of huge desire.’ 
Grimly he thought of Abel, soft and fair— 
A lover with disaster in his face,  10
And scarlet blossom twisted in bright hair. 
‘Afraid to fight; was murder more disgrace?... 
‘God always hated Cain’ ... He bowed his head— 
The gaunt wild man whose lovely sons were dead. 



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