Whose Flesh? Whose Word?


rembrandt feast
Belshazzar’s Feast (Rembrandt)


Begin with the Word

Word became flesh

… Became flesh, became Word.

Once above us

Whose Flesh?

Among us.

Chapter and verse across the skin.

 A later addition.

The word made Word made word again –

Look for silence.

Word, in love, first spoken.

Now, in anger, comes forth.

Now, in conversation, continues.

Now, in print, lives again.

The Word became Flesh became pulp.

It lines the long corridors, closes wrought iron gates.

It closes wrought iron gates.

It howls like a dirge in an empty coffin,

Drowning out the coarse cries of the veiled.

Word on the mind, flesh in the mirror.

Every move marked.

The mind, the mirror,



Every move marked

By the clank of a machine that will change the world.

Each word-

Whose Word?


Word unspoken, Flesh underfoot,

Pages as curtains torn in two.

Word unspoken, Flesh underfoot,

A rough wooden throne

Above a company of thieves-

Word declared, Flesh sanctified,

Amid Great Darkness shining.

Word and flesh and fire burn,

All mortal scars refining-

Whose Flesh? Whose Word?

Whose Flesh? Whose Word?

What is this darkness growing, growing?

Take this cup away from me

For it is overflowing!




Not one blot!

Not one blot!

Not one thing will pass away-







Begin with the Word-

Whose Word?



I wrote this poem as part of an assignment for my Postcolonial Literature course. I wanted to write about language and authority, and theology seemed like a natural entry point into this discussion (I am, after all, a man of limited interests).  This piece draws on the work of the poets Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze and Mahmoud Dawish, as well as the theology of Jurgen Moltmann. 

Quite unintentionally, one of the stanzas in this piece closely resembles a portion of To Be King.



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