Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Ballad of Rameses

Who is this stranger upon my mother's knee?
This baby getting the love meant for me?
She sings softly to him and smiles
a grin only I use to bring, and I'm driven wild.
"Rameses, my love," she coos to me,
"you have a new baby brother, come and see."
I clamor to her lap and sneaked a glare,
if only then I had realized what would become then and there.

Who is this teenage ruffian standing beside me?
dressed alike, raised together, kings to be,
we race chariots recklessly, celebrate festivals as brothers,
for brothers we are, and brotherly love we share for each other.
Temple rituals, scribe work, education we share,
afterlife complete with religious belief we prepared.
brother of my heart, I was perfectly content with you,
never would I ever imagine that you were born a Hebrew.

Who is this young man whose life is upside down?
chest heaving, murder on his hands, entire persona a frown.
He kneels in the dust, crying mud, shaking his head.
"Rameses," he whispers, "I am a lie," he rips off his ring, it's Egypt he sheds.
I tried to keep him, to make him stay, to make it right,
but he pushed me away and began to run, to run out of my sight.
"Moses!" I call, hoping to see him come back and stay,
but all there remained was emptiness and my own despair, my dismay.

Who is this dusty stranger before me and my throne?
It looks likes Moses, lost brother of my heart (but not my bone).
It is Moses! How strange he looks. A Shepard now I see,
he has a beard and carries a staff and stares at me
with eyes that have seen wonders and glory
I go to embrace him and beg to hear his story.
But he has not come to relive the past with me
He is a very different man then what he used to be...

Who is this man who demands that I let his people go?
His people? They are my slaves and I demand that they remain so.
He warns me against a hardened heart, "brother, don't," he pleads,
but Moses seems to have forgotten all kindness for me,
and brings plagues of devastation to my kingdom and my rule,
but I will not relent, I alone remain strong, dignified and cool.
But my brother sends a plague of death to my son's bedroom door.
And as I hold my lifeless son, I bid him leave and bother me no more.

Who is this man that I am chasing with every ounce of hatred in me?
Once my brother, my companion. Now my prey, my hatred. My worst enemy.
But once again he has left me, and now I found myself standing on one side
of a huge divide, yelling his name into the void that he left behind.
"Moses!" I scream. I fall to my knees, and glancing down, my reflection I see.
Who is this broken man looking back at me?
Who will always be known as the one who heart God harden,
saw the works of the Lord, but whose crimes will never be pardoned.

Who is this man I see?

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