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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write in the ADVENTURE genre (05/24/07)

TITLE: The Secret of the Apis Bull
By Kenn Allan


Alone, I pace the creaking barge
Beset by fears I dare not speak;
Despite my quest some doubts remain—
Is truth or legend that I seek?

I squint against the setting sun
Past the papyrus in my hands;
The Theban Hills quake in the heat
While twilight cools Egyptian sands.

Dank perspiration soaks my brow
And drips upon the ancient scroll;
A white kerchief snatched from my vest
Smears hieroglyphs which stain my soul.

Oh! curse that thoughtless act of mine
Which soiled this treasure stitched in lace!
It is a keepsake of my wife
Which bears a teardrop from her face.

What future loss might I endure
Besides a birthright pledged by me?
Both friends and loved ones I have shunned
In search of things which may not be.

Before my conscience can contrive
A pardon for my reckless choice,
The waters slapping at the hull
Distract me with their crystal voice…

   Were Hebrews really forced as slaves
   To fashion bricks of straw and mud?
   Did God send plagues on their behalf
   And make this river flow with blood?

   Did Pharaoh set these captives free
   To wander years through desert sand?
   How did this tribe of God survive
   When trudging towards the promised land?

While questions scourge my littered mind,
I sense a grinding at my feet;
The barge at last has run aground
And marks my crossing as complete.

A camel bears my Christian name;
I muse the sight of such a beast
And how, with every step I take,
My mode of travel is decreased.

At break of day, the quest resumes
As we escape the blazing dawn;
My camel’s plodding echoes loud—
I listen as we travel on…

   Did Hebrews really melt their gold
   And hammer forth a golden calf?
   When Moses saw what had been done,
   Was it destroyed in righteous wrath?

   Were all its ashes ground to dust
   And mixed within a golden drink?
   Did fragments of that calf survive?
   You must admit, it makes one think…

The Valley of the Kings unfolds
Beyond the covert road of dust;
A roguish desert breeze pursues—
Our footsteps vanish with a gust.

Again, the aged papyrus speaks
And whispers of a secret room
Tucked in the shadows of a hill
Beside an excavated tomb.

With shovels drawn, we bear the task
And sift vast kingdoms through our hands;
But as the sound of clanging steel
My doubts ascend like blowing sands…

   Are all the ancient rumors true
   About some stolen golden dust?
   Who forged a tiny Apis Bull
   To try and purchase Pharaoh’s trust?

   How did the scribes in Pharaoh’s court
   Foretell the idol’s secret cave?
   Why was it buried at his side
   Yet banished from his lavish grave?

A shovel scrapes against a stone—
Is this the goal for which I seek?
My anxious fingers claw the earth
And find a door sealed in mystique.

As iron bars dislodge the slab,
A hiss of ancient air is heard;
At last I gaze upon the bull—
My fame and fortune rest assured.

But as I touch the golden prize,
It burns into my searching flesh!
A mighty wind speaks at the door
Displacing musty air with fresh…

   When pride is valued over love
   No treasure will fulfill your quest;
   You only build upon your worst
   While sacrificing all the best.

   Though others may concede to share
   The passions burning in your soul,
   I AM your God, a jealous god,
   And I alone can make you whole.

Those words engulf my wanton quest
And settle deeply in my heart;
Not willing to be burned again
I spurn the idol and depart.

I board a steamer bound for home
And contemplate my long descent;
The kerchief in my trembling hand
Pervades my thoughts with heaven’s scent.

The engines throbbing does not speak—
No doubt remains of my reward;
It hides within a cherished life
Embraced by loved ones and the LORD.

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This article has been read 1435 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Dee Yoder 05/31/07
Verna Cole Mitchell 06/01/07
This is awesome poetry. What a story is told in perfect verse!
Mo 06/01/07
Very good -- the adventure, the poetry, & the lesson!
dub W06/03/07
Masterfully written, I have little else to say.
Venice Kichura06/04/07
Awesome! I'm confident this is a winner.
Beth LaBuff 06/04/07
This is incredible! Each word used is perfect and gives the reader such a descriptive picture. The writing is only surpassed by the message of the poem. Thanks.
Joanne Sher 06/04/07
I loved especially the italicized verses - but this whole thing is wonderful. Excellent, as usual.
Sara Harricharan 06/06/07
Nice! I echo the comments that this is wonderful writing! My favorite verse was the one with the camel. Good job here.
Verna Cole Mitchell 06/07/07
Congratulations. As always, your talent amazes me!
Sally Hanan06/07/07
Great work Kenn,. I sent it to a friend of mine who is struggling to keep trusting that God will bring her husband back to the reality of what he has, and she loved it.
Lisa Holloway06/12/07
Y'know, I don't usually go for poetry, but I like yours. Good message and style. I especially liked the stanza beginning "When pride is valued over love."
David Butler07/10/07
It takes a master to blend story, style and stanza with such a powerful message.

Glory goes to God, it's true;
But I give credit where it's due.