Thursday, October 22, 2015

The New Sacrifice of Isaac: No Ram Redemptive--A Poem

The New Sacrifice of Isaac: No Ram Redemptive

By David Hartley Mark

                                    Dusk: three forms approach a Sacred Mount—
                                    An Old Man, his Son, a Donkey small
                                    Who bears a pile of sticks. And up the Mount they crawl
                                    The Old Man cannot fight against the pricks

                                    Of Conscience, of his God of Mystery
                                    Who ordered him to rise, to go and come
                                    Begin a new faith, leave ancestral home        
                                    And now, in hopes of pleasing Holy Wraith

                                    Will not withhold his Son, his only Son
                                    From off’ring him atop a fiery pile
                                    In hopes his ashes will conjure a smile
                                    From Lord Alone Who builds, creates, and smashes

                                    All that exists, on earth. The Old Man’s blind
                                    To all else, cannot see his murderous act:
                                    His progeny will lie dead: cruel fact
                                    Of life he’ll free him, but no future see.

                                    So on, in silence, toil the two. “O Father!”
                                    Asks the Son, and answers then
                                    Old Abram: “I am here, o’er rock and fen,
                                    My Isaac!” “As we begun,” the Boy says to the Man,

                                    “I looked, and saw the Wood, indeed the Fire, but
                                    “Saw not the Ram; where is the Ram, my Father?”
                                    Rheum blinded Abram’s eyes: he choked a bit,
                                    Replied: “My God provides, provides

                                    Himself a Ram, My Son!” The Boy was silent, realized:
                                    And the Two walked on Together.
                                    Unto the Place they came;
                                    The Race was run; the trials soon be past.

                                    So Abram, God-obsessed, did strongly take
                                    The Wood, the Rope, and tightly bound his Boy:
                                    He laid him on the thorny Altar High,
                                    Stretcht forth his Hand and seized the Knife—

                                    But Isaac forebore to weep; himself must die—
                                    Until an Angel (almost) half-appeared
                                    Within a covert, pinkish Cloud above—
                                    To show a Moment’s Holy Hesitance—
                                    To show a Demanding God’s enduring Love….

                                    But All for Naught! Quick-Sudden, out a bush
                                    Spurned Ishmael, the Arab-son, did leap:
                                    The Knife he seized, the Jewish Two he stabbed,
                                    Caught at the Ram, and off in Triumph did he sweep.