“Until the Day,” Ensign, Mar. 1990, 7
From delicate cups they took long sips
of wine that poured as golden fires,
and laughter rose from their red lips
as smoke from funeral pyres.
Their laughter floated in dim halls.
Incense rose in sinuous streams.
They leaned against enameled walls
and let their singing drift to dreams.
Outside: Noah. Old, sober, dark-eyed,
hammer-fisted Noah, his brows cresting
fiercely over deep and pleading eyes. Nesting
nearby, the full-bellied, black-pitched ark.
Wine-fired and wallowing, barely able to walk,
they went down to laugh at his sea-bound herds.
To spit in his beard and mock his words,
they went drunkenly down to that dry dock.
Their lips were unhallowed, their laughter unholy.
They smashed their goblets against the ark.
The skies convulsed, grew sober and dark.
The wine on the wood ran thin as watered blood.
The drips in the dust grew to a flood.
Trembling and grieved, Noah closed the door slowly.