ODOP: Gn 18:20-32

Abraham approached
The fearsome, dreadful Lord of Might,
Whose lofty hair drew all fauna to dance and quiver round it,
Whose stern glare was such that flora bowed and bloomed before it—
With the courage of all men
And heroes
Past and yet before him,
Abraham approached
The awful Lord of Might.

Abraham stammered
Before the thinly-veiled godhead
Small and silly before the force that pulsates in the plants,
Weedy and wispy in the presence that burns in the heart of the stars
Strangled by the strange
And numinous
And rippling air of El,
Abraham trembled
And pestered God.

The Almighty turned
Turned a flashing heavenly eye,
Turned an eye too loving to bear upon the unsuspecting world,
A world that longed for love found it fierce, and scalding, and—kind.
In his mighty dread
And majesty
An incredulous and delighted Abraham
Spoke unto
The surprise of a Lord of Right.

Copyright 2010 Jobey George.

Inspired by C.S.L. (yeah, who else?): “And if in revelation, then it is most really and truly in Abraham that all people shall be blessed, for it was the Jews who fully and unambiguously identified the awful Presence haunting black mountain-tops and thunderclouds with ‘the righteous Lord’ who ‘loveth righteousness’.” So did he say it better in one sentence than I did in three stanzas? Yes, of course he did.

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3 Comments »

  1. Maureen said

    I really loved the second stanza. I read such a humaness in Abraham in the images of him trembling and pestering. Very refreshing and accesible and how you carry it over to the idea of God as “thinly-veiled” in everything around Abraham brings a beautifully rich layering to the poem. Enjoyed this very much.

  2. nochipa said

    I enjoyed this poem very much and could see the scene so vividly played out in my mind. I love the story of Abraham, the man who was called God’s friend and just for the record, I am a HUGE fan of C.S. Lewis. 🙂

  3. @ Maureen: Thanks for the feedback! I too suspect Abraham is the stronger part of this poem. The biblical bit where he e-e-e-ver so hesitantly asks God if he would spare the doomed cities for fifty righteous people — oh, you would? good! — er — ah, ha ha — um, what if it were forty-five? — are pretty irresistible. Abraham *knows* he’s making a fool of himself… and I think therein lies the bravery. I won’t make a fool of myself in front of insignificant strangers, if I can help it, much less friends or bosses. Abraham was willing to do it in front of a terrifyingly powerful god, which makes him, in my book, extremely brave — extremely brave as only humans can be.

    @ nochipa: I’m getting inspired by recent readings and I’d like to read up some more on Abraham. And long, long live Lewis. (Have you read the man’s poems?? Must really try my hand at an alliterative poem one of these days.)

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