Thursday, February 21, 2013

In one of my classes we had to read this poem. It's Eve speaking. I found it quite beautiful and real. I'm sure Eve knew what she had been commanded to do (multiply and replenish the earth) was a commandment from God. I know she loved God, but she was still human and her motherly sorrows and emotions confused her as she watched the events unravel between her sons. 

Lamentation

Lamentation
by Arta Romney Ballif

And God said, “BE FRUITFUL, AND MULTIPLY –“
Multiply, multiply – echoes multiply

God said, “I WILL GREATLY MULTIPLY THY SORROW – “
Thy sorrow, sorrow, sorrow –

I have gotten a man from the Lord
I have traded the fruit of the garden for fruit of my body
For a laughing bundle of humanity.

And now another one who looks like Adam
We shall call this one, “Abel.”
It is a lovely name“Abel.”

Cain, Abel, the world is yours.
God set the sun in the heaven to light your days
To warm the flocks, to kernel the grain
He illuminated your nights with stars

He made the trees and the fruit thereof yielding seed
He made every living thing, the wheat, the sheep, the cattle
For your enjoyment
And, behold, it is very good.

Adam? Adam
Where art thou?
Where are the boys?
The sky darkens with clouds.
Adam, is that you?
Where is Abel?
He is long caring for his flocks.
The sky is black and the rain hammers.
Are the ewes lambing
In this storm?

Why your troubled face, Adam?
Are you ill?
Why so pale, so agitated?
The wind will pass
The lambs will birth
With Abel’s help.

Dead?
What is dead?

Merciful God!

Hurry, bring warm water
I’ll bathe his wounds
Bring clean Clothes
Bring herbs.
I’ll heal him.

I am trying to understand.

You said, “Abel is dead.”
But I am skilled with herbs
Remember when he was seven
The fever? Remember how—

Herbs will not heal?
Dead?

And Cain? Where is Cain?
Listen to that thunder.

Cain cursed?
What has happened to him?
God said, “A fugitive and a vagabond?”

But God can’t do that.
They are my sons, too.
I gave them birth
In the valley of pain.

Adam, try to understand
In the valley of pain
I bore them
fugitive?
vagabond?

This is his home
This the soil he loved
Where he toiled for golden wheat
For tasseled corn.

To the hill country?
There are rocks in the hill country
Cain can’t work in the hill country
The nights are cold
Cold and lonely, and the wind gales.

Quick, we must find him
A basket of bread and his coat
I worry, thinking of him wandering
With no place to lay his head.
Cain cursed?
A wanderer, a roamer?
Who will bake his bread and mend his coat?

Abel, my son dead?
And Cain, my son, a fugitive
Two sons
Adam, we had two sons
Both – Oh, Adam –
multiply
sorrow

Dear God, Why?
Tell me again about the fruit
Why?
Please, tell me again
Why?

1 comment:

  1. That is beautiful! Brought a little tear to my eye.

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