The illustrated books for children never
show the dark blood slicking Shamgar’s staff
or his face contorted, maddened, the oxgoad half-
buried in flesh. His dead will rot forever—
six hundred Philistines—but in Sunday School
the slaughtered oppressors kindly disappear,
Shamgar leaning cool-eyed on his spear
that isn’t one—a blameless farmer’s tool.
I relished every word my teacher read
from her picture Bible, memorized each face,
each judge, each tyrant’s form held fast by paint.
With God on their side, no one counts the dead—
Dylan, years later, taught me that. Erase
the blood, you’re left with mythos: Hero. Saint.