The beads slipped down the virgin s white slope,
precipitous crevice; flew low, like new
little birds; skimmed the blue dress threads,
land of floating clouds covered their glow.
They slid into the cupped palms of a pious
priest, who bedeviled them with snaking thin
digits until the gems gave in, found a child.
Love, the religious hissed, Love; and he draped
those beads across the child s clavicle,
down the spare and narrow chest. He fingered
the pretties; found his true god; exulted.
The child cried, and the air went quiet.
The beads glimmered on to the next, and
the next every innocent blinded
by his own thistled eyes and quaking lips.
Bertha Rogers s poems have been published in literary magazines and journals and in several collections. Her latest collection, Heart Turned Back, was published by Salmon Poetry Publishing, Ireland. Her translation of the Anglo-Saxon epic, Beowulf, was published in 2000 by Birch Brook Press; her translation of the Anglo-Saxon riddle poems from the Exeter Book, Uncommon Creatures, Singing Things, is forthcoming.