Date added: 29/05/2020



Painting by Silvia Dimitrova - Esther by Silvia Dimitrova


Who is this woman, 

Framed by arches,

Beautiful, bountiful,

Centred, subtle, shrewd,

Carrying scented lilies?


Who is this man, 

Pictured with pillars,

Royal, imperial,

Majestic, magnetic,

Extending his sceptre?


Who is this man,

Holding a scroll, eyes alert,

Beckoning, suggesting,

Suppliant, petitioning?


Who is this man,

Head down, eyes closed,

Gallowed, glowering,

Schemer, scowling?


Who are these girls,

Gazing at us,

And the woman,

With posy and scroll?


Esther, Jewish Queen of Persia,

Orphaned, adopted, awesome,

Raised to the heights,

Reticent, persuasive, risk-taker,

‘If I perish, I perish’,

Bravely delivers her race,

From depths of death.


Xerxes, King of Persian Empire,

Reigns in citadel of Susa,

From India to Ethiopia,

Opulent, hospitable, terrifying,

Saved by Esther from murder,

Hears her pleas for her people.


Mordecai, cousin of Esther,

Foster-father, chronicler,

Honourably perceptive:

'Perhaps you have come

To royal dignity 

For such a time as this?'


Haman, vizier of Xerxes,

Machiavellian murderer,

Plans destruction of Jews:

Snarler ensnared,

Worsted, reversed, hoisted,

Despised for ever.


Jewish children and families,

Throughout the ages,

Celebrate Purim,

Reading the scroll,

Feasting and sharing,

Remembering friendship and revenge.


Yet, the Jew of Nazareth

Enjoins love for enemies,

Endures imperial gallows,

Absorbing vengeance:

Death is destroyed by

Esther’s successor at Easter.


© Graham Kings, Nourishing Connections (Canterbury Press, 2020).

First published on Covenant Feb 2020.