the road was dusty, and the weary feet
told the captain, shouted, for relief;
the men behind him followed, resolute,
their faces turned toward nabal, and on his roof.
they stood awaiting for the scouts’ return,
the hunger gnawing them, their hopes all burned
for the provisions due; and now, just then,
they saw at last the swift returning feet of men.
but why so swift? they learned too soon,
they brought with them no victuals, only doom:
nabal has laughed to scorn david’s demands,
this was more than the exiled heart could withstand.
the burning anger was stoked to fever-flame,
how dare that man insult this hero’s claim!
their rightful due as guardians of his flock,
now lay unheeded as they stood there, mocked.
the little army yelled triumphal ire,
when in that moment david’s heart’s desire
was bent to theirs — find vengeance for this wrong,
nabal has proved his life did not belong
among the living! thus, their swords upraised,
they ran towards the distant sheepskin gates,
with david leading, heart and eyes aflame,
he charged to consummate his venging claim.
but near the valley, meeting them along
the road to carmel, was redemption’s song:
a train of donkeys, laden overmuch
with meat, and bread, and fruit, and wine, and such
to thrice repay the debt nabal was due,
a rich-robed lady led the curious queue;
before the startled david, thus she spake,
“nabal’s tresspass upon my head i take”
“forgive therefore this maiden that thy hand
remain unsullied from the sin of man;
behold, here is the offering i bring,
accept it please, and oh, refrain thy sting!”
the eyes of david softened, and his heart
was calmed before the humble lady’s part;
“what is thy name?” he asked; she said, “my name
is abigail, and i am nabal’s claim.”
david retreated with his men, and thus
was saved from sinning with the eager lust
of anger in his heart; that path he chose
which led him there, he would have not opposed
the slaughter of nabal’s whole hearth and home,
if abigail had not so timely come
to meet him ere his army reached the walls
and there atoned for all of nabal’s faults.
the road to carmel is the road to grief,
the road oft taken by offended souls;
and long they walk it, holding in their heart
the grudge they can’t forget or won’t release.
but abigail is there, in humble pose;
would you deny her sacrifice for those
who wronged you so? this grievous road must reach
only two ends: you get that which you seek!
one leads to carmel, and to death and tears;
the other leads to that gethsemane,
to healing, faith, and joy, and peace so dear.
what wouldst thou have? the choice is up to thee.
Mon 4 Sep 2006