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The First Nine Plagues of Egypt
by Bruce Phenix 
04/03/13
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THE FIRST NINE PLAGUES
AN EXTRACT FROM THE POEM “THE EXODUS”



Let my people go.
The Nile has turned to blood
and stained the fertile mud;
and no one safely drinks
while Egypt’s mother stinks
and teems with rotting fish.
Pharaoh, grant my wish.

Let my people go.
The land is green with frogs
from rivers, pools and bogs;
they sit upon your bed
and soil the dough and bread,
and none may sleep or eat.
Hear me, I repeat.

Let my people go.
The stroke of Aaron’s rod,
the finger-tap of God,
has conjured lice from dust
and, from your pride, disgust.
On man and beast they spring.
Grant my wish, O King.

Let my people go.
Your homes are thick with flies
and Egypt, choking, dies;
They swarm around your throne
while God protects his own
and Goshen prospers, free.
Pharaoh, hear my plea.

Let my people go.
The Lord has touched your herds
and added deeds to words;
and camel, sheep and ass
are one afflicted mass,
while our beasts idly stray.
King, you must obey.

Let my people go.
The kiln-soot from my hand
has settled on the land;
its fine and festering grains
have blossomed into blains
on animal and man.
Hear me while you can.

Let my people go.
The hail has set its sting
in every growing thing
and shattered every tree,
while Goshen prospers, free,
with crops in every field.
King of Egypt, yield.

Let my people go.
The high wind from the east
has summoned guests to feast:
the dense black locust-shower
has settled to devour
and ravage Egypt’s green.
Pharaoh, intervene.

Let my people go.
The Lord’s unyielding might
has robbed your land of sight
and closed your father’s eye
and blackened Egypt’s sky.
Before the final blow,
let my people go.

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