Dirty Pipes or The First Plague

January 3, 2005


I turn the tap on my faucet and the
Water runs russet,
I wonder what particles turn the water red?
What sediment of ages past flows in my pipes (even when they are clean) and into my body
Turning what was a fountain of life into a repository of death?

Was this what the Egyptians saw with the coming of the first plague?
Life-giving water turning to blood?
Mother of rivers brought to her knees,
Raw, bitter, bringer of death
To her children?

What did the Egyptians do for water during those terrible days?
Did they consume the red liquid
Taking into their own bodies the pestilence and disease?
Or did they run parched and dirty
Through the streets of the great city?

Did they marvel at the Awesome Power that brought the first
Menstruation of their Mother?
And what of the Jews?
Beneficiaries of this first great tragedy,
How did they satisfy their thirst?

But back in my kitchen I look to much more mundane realities.
I call the plumber and make an appointment.
Ensuring that he Roto-Rooters my drains,
Snaking through my pipes
Removing any doubt about their cleanliness.

And I am free to wash away the blood that runs through my reality.
Chalk it up to past experience,
Forget about the lesson I unwittingly learned
That behind every bringer of life
Lies the potential for death.

I am beginning work on a series of poems relating to the Ten Plagues of the Exodus story.  Some serious, some humorous, some in free verse, some with rhyming structures, I want to take the stories of the plagues and relate each in some way to modern times.  This is the first plague (the plague of Blood) where the Nile River turned to blood.

More will be posted but I would invite your feedback on this first one.


  1. This comment moved from the old blog site — original date lost.

    I once met Billy Collins who told me that the key to a well written poem is when your poem doesn’t go where your audience thinks it will go. I think you managed to pull it off.

    By the way, my website http://www.idlehandsmag.com hosts one of the top poetry blog rings in all of Googledom and I would like to invite you to join it at http://www.idlehandsmag.com/idleblogs/id21.html I think you would be in good company.

  2. This comment moved from the old blog site — original date lost.

    Thank you so much for the complement! I would be honored to check it out and join in.

  3. This comment moved from the old blog site — original date lost.

    Very nice poem. Expecting more poems. I am honoured to join you.

  4. i want an ode that talks about a little girl going shopping

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