Sunday, 25 June 2017

Sarah's turn

Sarah laughed

Genesis 21:1–7

as God promised,
though I had laughed to think
of motherhood, shocked to think
of motherhood, afraid
of motherhood now

but God promised
a child to us now, when
the bridge was crumbling
from disuse, the water under
long ago evaporated

was this promise
of new life to dry bones
a curse in disguise? of course
I laughed, preposterous
promise to bring to a desert
content to be a desert

who would promise
a son to a man
of a hundred years and counting?
yet here is the son God
promised Sarah and Abraham,
and I laugh more joy than fear –
laugh with me, all who hear:
I am a mother, as God promised,
and I will laugh you a river.

Sarah’s scowl

Genesis 21:8–14

the boys played as brothers
play having not yet learnt
to doubt their father’s love

the mothers watched, as rivals
watch, jealous of what she has,
blind to what is her own

and in a moment, the bow
snapped its arrow through thick
taut air, thwacked into its target

a mother’s love twisted the light
to cast shadows to follow them all;
and the father’s love had not seen its last test yet

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