Jehu kneeling before Shalmaneser

Neglecting to kneel only to God, stark fear
(Or Shalmaneser’s falsifying sculptor)
Abased him, forehead to foot, forced thus to hear
What size tribute the Assyrian mulctor
Felt he could take him for.  God’s just instrument
Who’d slaughtered Ahab’s sons and Jezebel,
Whose bolt despatched Samaria’s King and sent
His body to Naboth’s vineyard, him to Hell,
Disgraced by pagans to imagined gods
Went cringing, and now our only portrait
Of an Israelite King shows him at losing odds,
A ruthless warrior face down in the dirt;
            Yet still we drive like Jehu, sometimes, but
            The arrogant Shalmaneser’s clean forgot.

Brian Lee


If you have any thoughts on this poem, Brian Lee would be pleased to hear them.