By: Julia Somerset

“Who the Meek Are Not”
By Mary Karr


Not the bristle-bearded Igors bent
under burlap sacks, not peasants knee-deep
in the rice-paddy muck,
nor the serfs whose quarter-moon sickles
make the wheat fall in waves
they don’t get to eat. My friend the Franciscan
nun says we misread
that word meek in the Bible verse that blesses them.
To understand the meek
(she says) picture a great stallion at full gallop
in a meadow, who—
at his master’s voice— seizes up to a stunned
but instant halt.
So with the strain of holding that great power
in check, the muscles
along the arched neck keep eddying,
and only the velvet ears
prick forward, awaiting the next order.


I never understood the word “meek” in the Bible until I read this poem. The instruction to be meek does not tell us to be quiet and shy and stand in the shadows. This picture of the stallion is the picture of strength, beauty, and power—and yet the stallion has been trained to submit all of that amazing force to the control of its master.


May we all learn to submit our beautiful power and strength to the control of God, and to do it joyfully.