He told many stories.
One centred on a vineyard
where opportunistic tenants flout the law;
to intimidate their way to wealth.
Nothing new, here.
That tradition goes back to Ahab,
and far beyond; the ruthless grabs
for property and power.
They continue, gathering pace.
In our time the violence
may be more subtle; it is no less real
or cruel. It springs from corporations,
boardrooms, banks, and speculators;
as commodities, goods and services
are traded and sold,
along with the poor.
Land is snatched,
forests are stripped and burned,
and people are moved on,
along with other inconvenient life-forms.
The earth is gouged and torn,
while mines and factories pour their
despoliation into clouds, rivers and oceans.
The storyteller told his tale
as an allegory of the fruits of generosity and love
expected from those who find themselves
in the divine kingdom.
Its catalogue of ascendingly violent acts
was, of course, made up;
a literary device designed to engender
among his hearers.
The violence that attends our planet
and its peoples, however,
is bleedingly real.
There are, at story’s end,
two assurances: that the cruel and brutal
will receive justice,
and that those who are otherwise unworthy
will be graciously included.
We can only hope
that these promises might be true.
© Ken Rookes 2014