Five Poets at the Fruitmarket - Andrew Philip

‘The Rock of Horeb’ by Andrew Philip

The Rock of Horeb
Exodus 17:1-7

Who sets the hard-set to such weeping
they can slake the thirst, can quench
the quarrel burning in a wandering folk?
I am no instrument. What rings
from the struck rock is not
what was wrung from me.
I am no aquifer. Nothing of
life whispered through my fissures
till that single blow pushed me
to bow to a fresh and giddy spring.
I couldn’t quell its pressure, couldn’t
name the force that split me
open like a loaf just risen
from the oven’s grave; split me
clean open like a pomegranate,
the juice I didn’t know I held
bleeding into gaping, grateful mouths.


              – Andrew Philip

First published in The Irish Pages.

Andrew Philip is reading with Isobel Dixon, Claire Crowther, Tom Chivers and Rob A. Mackenzie on Wednesday 19 August at the Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, 8-10pm. More details here.