09 March 2009

Lot's Wife

A friend recently read me this poem, and I thought it quite interesting. It is based on the Hebrew story of the divine destruction of the city Sodom. There once was a fellow named Abram, and his nephew Lot lived in Sodom. The town annoyed Yahweh, so he decided to destroy the town with fire and brimstone. Out of respect for Abram, he allowed Lot the opportunity to escape. So Lot and his wife and their daughters left the town, but Lot's wife looked back and YHWH promptly magicked her into a pillar of salt.

Lot's Wife

(by Kristine Batey)

While Lot, the conscience of a nation,

Struggles with the Lord,

She struggles with the housework.

The City of Sin is where

She raises the children.

Baal or Adonai-

Whoever is God-

The bread must still be made

And the doorsill swept.

The Lord may kill the children tomorrow,

But today they must be bathed and fed.

Well and good to condemn your neighbors religion,

But weren't they there

When the baby was born

And when the well collapsed?

While her husband communes with God,

She tucks the children into bed.

In the morning, when he tells her of the judgment,

She puts down the lamp she is cleaning

And calmly begins to pack.

In between bundling up the children

And deciding what will go,

She runs for a moment

To say goodbye to the herd,

Gently patting each soft head

With tears in her eyes for the animals that will not understand.

She smiles blindly to the woman

Who held her hand in childbed.

It is easy for eyes that have always turned to heaven

Not to look back;

Those who have been-by necessity-drawn to earth

Cannot forget that life is lived from day to day.

Good, to a God, and good in human terms

Are two different things.

On the breast of the hill, she chooses to be human,

And turns, in farewell-

And never regrets

The sacrifice.

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