I went home to a foreign land next door
Where the fearful braves knew all
The secret names of God; but for me
They had no name. So I was called
The Moabitess; wholly comprehended,
In every stranger’s glance, by my father’s shame.
They knew the secret art of turning
Staff to serpent, water to blood; and
All the plagues of Moses; even
How to kill your firstborn son. But
Everyone knows that Moabite women,
They love their sons too well for that.
Holy mountain men, living on tasteless bread,
From stormy mountains descended, heaving
Stony laws at song and feast and dance,
And grinding every golden thing to dust.
Moabite women, they turn back to Sodom;
That’s what all the old salts say.
Those who seemed to be pillars never
Repeated the promise I first heard far away
At home: Laughter, and the gentle thunder
Of children’s feet running over glad hills,
Looking after the sheep.