Not the bristle-bearded Igors bent


under burlap sacks, not peasants knee-deep


in the rice-paddy muck,


nor the serfs whose quarter-moon sickles


make the wheat fall in waves


they don't get to eat. My friend the Franciscan


nun says we misread


that word meek in the Bible verse that blesses them.


To understand the meek


(she says) picture a great stallion at full gallop


in a meadow, who -


at his master's voice - seizes up to a stunned


but instant halt.


So with the strain of holding that great power


in check, the muscles


along the arched neck keep eddying,


and only the velvet ears


prick forward, awaiting the next order.