1. Home
  2. Poetry Magazine
  3. Poems
  4. The Land of Nod by James Arthur
The Land of Nod

Related Poem Content Details

Growing up, I barely knew the Bible, but read
and reread the part when Cain drifted east
or was drawn that way, into a place of desolation,
the land of Nod, there to begin, with a wife

of unknown origin, another race of men,
under the mark of God. As a boy, I thought Nod
would be a place where the blue scillas
would bloom gray, a country of the rack and screw,

the serrated sword, where the very serving cups
were bone. As a grown man, I’ve heard that Nod
never was a nation—of Cain’s offspring, or anyone—
but a mistranslation of “wander,” so Cain

could go wherever, and be in Nod. Far more
than in God, I believe in Cain, who destroyed
his own brother, and therefore in any city
could have his wish, and be alone.

Source: Poetry (May 2011)

More from this issue

This poem originally appeared in the May 2011 issue of Poetry magazine

  • Search every issue of Poetry

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine. Search the whole site

The Land of Nod

Related Poem Content Details

  • Search every issue of Poetry

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine. Search the whole site

Other Information