Thursday, May 20, 2010

On Human Sacrifices...or something.

K, new poem! This one needs a title and lots of constructive comments, though, so go to. We're still at the butcher knife stage of drafting, so don't be shy...

Poem. (<---title goes here. Ahem.)

We all place our best work at the feet of God.
Sure, there are different way of saying it.
Back in the day, when the fiery angel dropped to prick the earth with his voice
(to Adam, to Eve, how tinny a voice that must have been!),
Abel settled his sheep (the whitest, the fleeciest, the warmest)
securely on the alter, then turned away, afraid.
Later, when Abraham rocked his baby on the stony crib,
sweat and lullabies streaming onto his child’s face,
or when Moses offered his tongue, his sandals, his future
to the glory of that electrifying shrub,
we stop and gape, amazed,
and poke our neighbors in their wooden pews
and quiver to compare ourselves
with those ceramic brows.

But, what is the difference then,
between us and those great, glassy men;
enamored in our gazes?
You and I,
we litter His feet with our own, private bounties;
tedious gray hours kneeling at the side of His childrens' beds,
hands hung over keyboards for long, long minutes, waiting to drop the perfect hosanna
onto the paper’s generous spread,
fishermen pulling in their sodden lines and pushing off, away, away,
preferring to hear God’s voice in the pulse of wave after wave after wave;
(what contrite thankfulness for salt and flippering fin!)
Even with a boyish whistle in the face of stark winter morning,
we honor His great hands.
And what greater proof do we need, in scripture or in hymn,
that we travel through our lives, whispering our hushed benedicti into our
handkerchiefs and to the insides of our scarves,
and finally, in that great moment of emergence,
when faced by mountains,
those resonant purple thumbs of God,
we stand up, and rub our palms together,
and sing.


  1. Your poems are beautiful. Gosh. I live with a poet. Please note how I restrained myself from adding a rhyme after poet.

    Just one thing. The two lines that are in parentheticals don't really flow for me. They feel so much lighter and trite compared to the rest of the poem. So yes.

  2. Thanks Rachel, for the lovely compliments and the ideas...i'll play with the parenthesis. I sortof like them, but they're wayyyy gimmicky (aka I don't know if I like them because they're useful to the poem or because they're pretentious...) so I'll see what I can do.

  3. Oh my gosh, I love it already. Thank you for sharing your gift with us; your work is truly uplifting and inspiring! I can't wait to see the final draft.

  4. great stuff Jessie,and thanks for letting us read it, though I can't promise there's a chance that I could take a butcher knife to it. The really strange part is that I read a passage out of Leaves of Grass this morning,saying (I think) the same thing), with Walt explaining how he doesn't hold Jehovah, Odin, Adonai, Zeus, or Kronos above any man, that he sees equal divinity in the blackened face of a running fireman or the red haired huckler selling all he owns to buy the lawyer to defend his brother (and redeem the race) . . . so you must be channeling some good vibes, even if he was a sweaty toothed mad man. Wish I could offer more.

    p.s. this is chase

  5. really good jessie. As I read it the first section felt strong and more honed, and the second less so, but that may just be me idolizing their ceramic brows. :-)