“And Cain talked with Abel, his brother.”
The sun was rising on earth, sin-tainted, yet beautiful,
Delicate gold-colored cloudlets in all their primeval beauty,
Ushered the bright orb of day to his task well appointed,
Like a bevy of beautifal girls in the court of their monarch,
Or a regiment of soldiers all bright in new rose-colored armour.
Two altars arose between earth and the cloud-speckled firmament;
Cain walked in a stern and defiant advance to his altar,
A recklessness flashed from his eyes, and passions unconquered,
As he scornfully looked on the kneeling, worshipping Abel,
Ay scornfully thus he addressed his young innocent brother:
“Look at my sacrifice, Abel, these glistening dew-colored roses,
Those delicate lillies and mosses, these graceful arbutulas;
Look at the golden brown tints of these fruits in their lusciousness;
Look at the bright varied hues of these green leaves, closely encircling
These rich scarlet blossoms, like yonder clouds, glorious and wonderful;
Nothing on earth or in heaven could make fairer oblation.
Abel, what have you carved on your altar, in that wild devotion
By which you in vain seek to soften the anger of heaven?
A circle, to show that your God is all near, is filling
The seen and unseen with His incomprehensible presence.
Well, so let it be, then; I’ll not contradict the illusion.
One thing appears certain, that we have offended our Maker,
Who visits unjustly on us the mistakes of our parents,
As if we ever reached out our hands for fruit once forbidden.
Shall we never be free from the thorns and the thistles upspringing?
Why do you still try to follow the steps and voice of your Maker?
And why still persist in slaying the white lambs of your meadows?
Take of my beautiful flowers and despise all blood shedding.”
“My brother,” spoke Abel, “I love the dear innocent flowers.
Are they not all, nearly all that is left us of Eden’s fair glory,
All but the singing of birds, the winds and the waters, wild music,
All but the whispers of love and blessings of heart-broken parents;
But you heard, my brother, as well as myself the commandment,
Not to offer to heaven what _we_ choose, but what God declareth
Will shadow our Faith and sweet Hope in the promised atonement;
And that terrible sin, those spots in our souls, my dear brother,
Can never be cleansed by the lives of the beautiful flowers,
Only by His, shadowed forth in the death of an innocent victim.”
Then angrily answered Cain back to his young brother’s pleading,
“Abel, I have no patience with such mock humiliations,
I have no need of a Saviour, I have no need of blood-shedding
To wash out the stain of my own or my father’s transgression.
I for myself can make perfect and full restitution;
Look at the smoke of your altar curling upward so clearly,
Making white cloudlets on high in the blue of the firmament,
While mine sweeps the ground that is cursed like the trail of the serpent:
Why comes down the Maker of this blighted universe, asking
Why art thou wroth, and why is thy countenance fallen?”
Stand I not here in the image of God, who created us?
Have I not courage, and freedom, and strength above my inferiors?
Did not our father give name to beast, bird, insect and reptile?
Shall his children crouch down and kneel like the creature that crawleth?
I will not obey this commandment, but I’ll wreath up my altar
With offerings of earth, with gold of the orange, and red of the roses,
I’ll not stain my hands with the blood of an innocent creature.”
So Cain turned away from his wondering brother; perhaps then little
That on the next morrow he would become earth’s first murderer;
And, scorning the death of a lamb, take the life of a brother.
(Harriet Annie Wilkins)
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Based on Keywords: recklessness, bevy, restitution, lusciousness, humiliations, rose-colored, inferiors, blood-shedding, declareth, gold-colored, crawleth