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!   
‘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,
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.

More Poems by Siegfried Sassoon