Showing posts with label Genesis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Genesis. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Prose poem on Lot’s Wife

This poem originally appeared in 2012 on the Bible People blog and in 2014 was included in the book of Bible-based poems, Outside Eden, published by Kelsay Books.

Prose poem by Mary Harwell Sayler
Lot’s Wife Visits Genesis 19

No one bothered to name her, not even as an infant when the streets intersecting Sodom and Gomorrah gave birth to her and held on tight, bouncing her back on the bungee of an uncut umbilical cord. She married, made a home, and brought forth future generations in her girls. The older nameless ones wed and started families before the Angels came, announcing unnatural disasters, but what did Lot think he was doing, offering up the other two anonymous girls to get the single-minded Sodomites away from unclean thoughts?

His wife hardly had a warning – only orders to flee as an unidentified Angel grabbed her hand and told her to hurry, hurry, hurry. She felt so tired, so angry with Lot for saying he would sacrifice their two youngest girls to the mob, so confused by all the commotion, but hand in hand with an Angel, she ran. She ran. She ran, and no one knows why she stopped: To ask a question? To drop to her knees? To see what would happen to her children and grandchildren left behind?

As she lagged behind the Angel’s orders, no one dared to turn and see where she had gone. No one dared to turn and ask if she could make it to the mountain by herself. Later, when Lot and the two girls reached the little town of Zoar and saw salt outcroppings dashed across the plains, they noticed one shaped like The Wife, The Mother, but no one bothered to name her, not even then, not even as the pillar of her community, preserved in salt-dried tears.

© 2015, Mary Harwell Sayler, all rights reserved. For more on prose poems, see "Do real poets read and write prose poems?” on the Poetry Editor & Poetry blog and "From Gospel to prose poem" posted In a Christian Writer's Life also by Mary Sayler.

Friday, August 29, 2014

In the beginning: Overture, a poem

by Mary Harwell Sayler

In the beginning,
You came to us, Lord.

In the beginning, You


into us Your Breath
of Life –

Spirit Life.

In the beginning,
You created heaven
and earthy
in Your Love.

You divided
the dispirited darkness.
from the Light
where You dwell.

© 2014, Mary Harwell Sayler, all rights reserved.

“Overture” first appeared in the book of Bible-based poems, Outside Eden, published in 2014 by Kelsay Books.

If you would like an autographed copy, send the name you want the book addressed to and $20 (includes mailing at book rate) in U.S. funds to Mary Sayler, P.O. Box 62, Lake Como, FL 32157, or order from Amazon below:

Outside Eden, paperback

Monday, June 18, 2012

A poem of beginnings

Having the First Word

Into first being God uttered water,
broke open the night,
spilled light and water everywhere.

The earth took God’s Word
to heart,
pumping great cardiovascular
veins of rivers, oceans,

Air performed lively aerations,
breathing into plants,
boosting inhalation, waiting
to lift us, buoyed, out of the water –
wailing and gasping for breath.


© 2012, Mary Harwell Sayler, all rights reserved. This poem appears in Living in the Nature Poem published by the nature-friendly, environmentally-aware traditional book publisher Hiraeth Press.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Miriam, sister of Moses

The Object Of Conversation
from Genesis 15 and Numbers 12
by Mary Harwell Sayler

They’re talking about you, Miriam. They’re
talking about how you should have married and
had a family of your own instead of hovering
over the one drawn from the water, long ago.

They’re talking about you as though you’re
absent -- as though no female prophet, past or
present, could count herself as blessed as any
man who speaks, face to face, with God.

Outside the camp of jealousy in the weak site
of leprosy, can you forgive your brother Moses
for having to intercede for you and pray when
you would prefer it to be the other way around?
Neither forgiveness nor forgetfulness will come
by your welcoming death, so save your breath!

And just so you'll know, this talk goes on and
on in Bible circles where we discuss how rivalry
erupted, corrupting your pores with your longing
to speak for God -- to stand alone and yet belong
among the prophetically great leaders of the world.
So we interpret you as we see fit: appraising right,
assessing wrong, but even now we sing your song.


©2012, Mary Harwell Sayler, all rights reserved. Originally published in 2007 issue of Bridges, the poem later appears in Mary's book of Bible-based poetry, Outside Eden, published in 2014 by Kelsay Books.


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bible People poem: Choosing Judah

Choosing Judah
by Mary Harwell Sayler

from Genesis 49

No matter how you brace yourself,
your father’s death moves toward you
like a sirocco, steering dust and famine.
What do you want stirred before he dies?
A word of love? Respect? Or at last, just
an acknowledgement that, yes, you lived.

How quickly time has passed! As you
gather for your father’s final blessing,
the Promised Land consists of little real
estate – little more than a grave or cave
for burying, little more than an avowal
to hand down instead of deed and title,
but with that breath of blessing comes
a word from God, inherited by faith.

Judah, of all of Jacob's offspring, you
alone have shown you know a day will
come when each of you must stand
on the indwelling of a word with deed –
as though the promise is as real as
land or life or the breath of a dozen
sons and daughters. Brace yourself
for the embrace of the wind. Can
you stand to be the father’s chosen?


© 2012, Mary Harwell Sayler. Originally published August 2007 in “Bible Talk” on the Catholic Exchange website and used here by permission of the author, the poem later appears in Mary's book of Bible-based poems, Outside Eden, published in 2014 by Kelsay Books. For more on Judah and the Twelve Tribes of Israel, visit Bible Prayers.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Poem: After Selling Joseph into Slavery

After Selling Joseph into Slavery
by Mary Harwell Sayler

from Genesis 37-38

Fortunately, the sky doesn’t fall
as you lift the flap of the tent
enveloping you in skins of darkness.
Later, you may learn to build pyramids
if Joseph has no say, but now you look
at the sky and wonder, “What have
I done? What have I done?
What have I

This thing you feel perhaps is preface
to the history of conscience -- a concise
course in Bible ethics beginning with
Adam and Eve, who brought blame into
the world but failed to show remorse
or with Cain, whose killing Abel caused
parental sorrow and caused Cain to develop
a distaste for consequences but who never
quite got the concept of scrambled scruples
causing pain.

Then there was Abraham who lied twice
about his wife being his sister and whose
son did the same without apparent shame
to himself or anyone, and, of course, no one
needs to mention how your father’s long
intention was to turn his brother’s birthright
into wrong -- with no sense of conviction
that this was no noble action.

But, Judah, you alone
have torn your heart from mother, father, brothers
and gone to be alone
with no clear precedent for repentance -- no
legal handing down of a sentence
meant to extricate you from the slavery
of knowing
you’ve done.

Did Noah, your forefather, know his cursing
Ham would settle blame somewhere
in the region of where Joseph sits imprisoned?

Would it help you now to know how the story ends --
with Joseph’s dream come true as you
and your brothers bow to him?

Would it hurt you now to see your children’s children
issuing forth from Joseph's slavery?

Would it help you to hear of the later leadership of Moses
(a descendant of your older brother, Levi), who ascended
to the task of writing laws of right and wrong by which --
now deeply felt and darkly known -- you would truly try
to abide and not have to hide to be alone?

Let speculation show you
to dream of the need for a savior.


© 2012, Mary Harwell Sayler. Originally published June 2008 in “Bible Talk” on the Catholic Exchange website and used here by permission of the poet, this poem later appeared in Mary's book of Bible-based poems, Outside Eden, published by Kelsay Books in 2014.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Following God into Lent

by Mary Harwell Sayler

Oh, Lord,
I need Your love –
in the beginning
before I can grow.

I need Your Word to
speak deep inside of me,
quieting chaos and
commanding out
those terrors, void of You.

I need to hear You say,
"Bring forth. Bring forth!"

I need to be borne,
not by my own
"should" or "could,"
but by Your Word
in me – always
very good.


©2012, Mary Harwell Sayler, originally published in the Spring ©1996 issue of Upsouth and used here by permission of the author.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Finding true love for Valentine’s Day

Picturing perfection in the Garden of Eden might be hard to do, and yet young people often imagine that true love spells perfection. Not! True love does exist, however, as we come in celebration of our creation, perfectly fabricated by The One Love Most Higher Than High.

by Mary Harwell Sayler

Pretend we're together, you and I
by a fire lit with emeralds, topaz, rubies,
set in stone to embrace the hearth and pave
a warmer way beneath our soles.

Pretend we're laughing by the pool,
splashing our faces with champagne-
sparkled water that cleanses and consoles.

Pretend we're breathing in a vivid sunset
from the teasing tops of trees or dancing
in the ease of our own music.

Pretend we're intimately occupied
with weaving words and arms and nests
as we beckon catbirds, cardinals, egrets,
osprey on a familiar note of names.

Pretend we're playing hide-and-seek
in the fluorescent light of fireflies,
candlestalks, and a ripe, reflective moon.

Pretend we're together, you and I –
completely fabricated, forever celebrated
by The One Love Most Higher than high.


© 2012, Mary Harwell Sayler, originally published in the © 1998, Saints Alive, Not & Then chapbook and used here by permission of the author.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bible People, then and now

The official Bible canon closed in the early years of the church, but Bible characters and their stories continue to connect with the people of God whose lives are still being written.

Returning People
by Mary Harwell Sayler

They’ve come, you know.
They've come through
Genesis singing Psalms
and Lamentations and landing
at your kitchen table. Sometimes
they walked. Sometimes they
danced. Sometimes they dragged
themselves through First and
Second Chronicles into one
war then another around a world
that rolls like parchment across
four walls where you sometimes
think you’re cornered until
they remind you that you’re not.
Listen. They come with slingshots,
tambourines, flatbread, and wine.
They come carrying poems,
prayers, and sometimes swords –
whatever it takes to get them
through a chapter and onto the
next revelation of what it means
to have a body, know a body
and be one, upright, with you,
around the table.

© 2007, Mary Harwell Sayler, All rights reserved. Originally published by CSS Publishing in 2007 in What A Body! book on the ministry gifts, this poem was later included in Outside Eden, published in 2014 by Kelsay Books