In the spring of the year

King David has chosen to stay home;

and who could blame him.

He has too long been a man of war,

sleeping rough with his men, out in the hills;

others could fight this battle.

His trusted general would do the job.

There are some tasks, however,

that he will do himself.

Like the woman, beautiful in her nakedness,

recklessly taking her bath on the roof.

He made his enquiries, discovered her name

and issued the royal invitation.

She was not likely to refuse.


The bed was soft,

the woman, softer.


He told his soul that he had chosen love over war;

and had almost convinced himself that it was a righteous choice

when her inconvenient message came.

Proving more loyal than his monarch,

the cuckolded husband frustrates the attempted cover-up;

receiving, as his reward, the honour of a hero’s death.

It is all about power.


David had too long been a man of war,

sleeping rough with his men, out in the hills.

It was in the spring of the year.


Ken Rookes. Posting from the middle of the continent, from the small town of Ti Tree, and without my usual equipment. Things don’t appear quite as I intend. Sorry

The edge of his cloak

The edge of his cloak
was enough;
the slightest brush of cloth
against the eager hand,
the faintest flicker of light
within a darkened place,
the smallest whisper
amidst the clamour,
the softest rustle of a breeze
among the fallen leaves,
the briefest glance of recognition
in a room of strangers,
the gentlest sigh,
the tiniest touch,
the least shiver of presence.
The edge of his cloak;
it is enough
for the healing
and the living
and the singing.


Ken Rookes


Another poem about this story can be found here

Half a kingdom


In this sad, sordid

and anything but edifying story

a lusting, leering and utterly laughable

monarch makes himself a fool

for the sake of his drunken urges.

Half a kingdom, ha!

he never had a realm of his own to give away

save that which his Roman overlords

allowed him to administer. He is smitten

by the no doubt charms of his dancing

stepdaughter, (in fact the daughter

of the niece that he has acquired as a wife,

but that is too complicated by another half!)

As the story goes, the pathetic king

paints himself into the naked corner

that will become a pitiful but convenient

excuse for murder.

The tale might elicit much ribald jesting

were it being told anywhere else

other than the holy gospel scriptures;

but here it stands as a solemn remembrance

of human weakness;

of overheated sexuality, power and abuse,

of masculine wretchedness

and of feminine duplicity and intrigue.

And, of course, the need for us all

to find deliverance.


© Ken Rookes

No-one special

The family lived at Nazareth,

his mother, sisters and brothers;

plus all the in-laws, nieces and nephews.

It was where he had been raised,

where he had been taught the law

with his schoolmates

at the feet of the local Rabbi.

They recalled how he had learned his trade

at his father’s workshop;

and everyone agreed he had done all right

with the mallet and saw.

Most people had liked him well enough;

his life had been quiet, uneventful.

He should have taken a wife, by now;

and more than one of the village girls

had eyed him off. And then,

without any apparent reason,

he had simply left town

to set up home in Capernaum.

What was he running from?

No-one had any answers,

and no sign of scandal had ever turned up.

Until now.

The reports from surrounding towns

of a miracle-working teacher

had not struck anyone as that unusual.

They were intrigued, and a little curious,

but there must have been thousands of men

by the same name, and it took a while

for them to realise that he was theirs.

He’d arrived back home affecting the teacher,

pretending to knowledge and understanding

way beyond his village-school education.

He had the gall to turn up at the synagogue

to regale his captive audience

with his feigned wisdom and insight.

They had to concede that he had spoken quite well,

but that was beside the point.

He might convince the uninformed

in any of a hundred other towns across Galilee,

but he wasn’t going to fool them.

They knew he was nobody special,

just like themselves, so they told him to go.


© Ken Rookes 2012