John Barnes: “Noah’s Bones”

Noah’s Bones

The jasper skeleton of fallen Noah
Fossilized in mineral rich mud
Not so far from the chalcedony beams
That buoyed a sprig cut from the 
Tree of life over the vast empire 
Of whale and shark and seaweed groves.

His skeleton may remember what the flesh 
Forgets.  Crustaceans devouring the drowned 
Bodies of soft skinned leopards and 
Once ferocious bears.   The sharks smell
Leaking blood and rend flesh with razor teeth. 
Sunken cities shelter fish schools in tedious numbers.

And yet one tender sprig of olive, severed by
Dove teeth returning to a vista of gray on gray
Prophesies a retreat by the watery empire,
A beachhead outpost for the kingdom of the firmament,
And wings and legs and hands and sharpened swords.

Was it a sword left Noah on his back in the mud?
Was it contempt or jealousy or bitterness 
Behind the hand that struck? What evil did that
Great flood wash from the sticky nature of man?

About the Author: John Barnes has been writing poetry for 42 years and has been published in The Chained MuseThe Minison Project Sonnet Collection Series and received the Winter 2022 quarterly award for his submission to The Lyric. He recently performed a featured reading at ArtNewCo in Columbus, Ohio.  He is a student of verse and believes in the value of self-education.

Image Credit: Ester Almqvist “Noah’s Thank-offering” Public domain image courtesy of Artvee