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Peter Bolton

(2nd April 1942 / Brecon)

The Tablets of The Law


The prophet Morab lived on the top of Mount Solon.
There he kept the tablets that were God’s law.
But in the city, where the people dwelled, Albanoun the high priest had built a temple of magnificent proportions to the glory of God and himself.
He thought, ‘It is not meet for the law to be separated from those who should obey it.’ Therefore he sent a messenger up the mountain demanding that the tablets be sent down into his care.
Morab was sad when he heard that Albanoun had fallen into such temptation.
‘You will find, ’ he replied, ‘on the land of one Boram, some stones.
You must bear these to me in return for the Law,
For this mountain must be held fast to the Earth.’

Albanoun was pleased because he had no difficulty in identifying these stones. However, they were too heavy for him to carry.
Seeing a workman in the fields, he summoned him.
‘You must convey these stones to the summit of Mount Solon, ’ he ordered.
‘For so God has commanded.’
The man answered not, but raised the stones and accompanied Albanoun.
The way was long and the climb steep.
The priest urged his elected servant on relentlessly.
The man’s sinews stretched, his breathing grew laboured,
His face grew pale but he did not ask for rest.
For three days he struggled on and Albanoun grew impatient.
‘Faster, man, ’ he cried. ‘A tortoise would be swifter.’
The bearer doubled his efforts without complaint and forced himself onwards until at last they reached the mouth of the cave.
Here he laid down the rocks and died.
The priest did not notice.
He ran into the cave, seeking Morab to announce his arrival,
There was no one there.
The law of the prophets stood unguarded.

Albanoun turned, his face aghast.
His steps were heavy as he returned towards the light
Morab lay there, dead, the stones beside him.
Morab had lain his burden down.
Albanoun tore his cloak, for he remained a man of God and he knew what he had done.
The task was now his own.

Submitted: Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Edited: Tuesday, April 23, 2013

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

Esme’s rock is her former assistant head, Alice, whom she is afraid of losing. She does not know that Alice has already been diagnosed with cancer.

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