Friday, April 2, 2010

National Poetry Month, Day 2

Today's poem came to me from a random thought I had during the morning's reading session, so I am not sure it is worthy of a prompt. I suppose we might say, write a poem based on an idea you got from whatever you're reading....My own prompt is complicated. I got the thought from a book of fiction I'm reading, but the actual place the idea originated is a quote from the Bible. So...whatever you're reading, what kind of poetic thought does it engender? For me.....


They wandered in the desert,
A people lost, abandoned,
Long before escaping from the plague in Egypt's land,

They'd always been the lost ones,
The wandering outsiders,
Convinced their God had sent them forth to wander in His name.

They knew that they were Chosen,
The only ones who knew Him,
The one God, He who told them they must worship at His shrines,

Disclaiming other Godness.
And so, within His writings
There came the Word forbidding any wasting of the seed.

They learned that it was better
To give a whore one's children
Than to ensure, by wasting, that there'd be no child at all.

Because they were the Chosen
Yet always few in numbers
They were enjoined from ever wasting seed upon the ground.

There was the tale of Onan,
Who would not be the father
With Tamar of a child he must support, yet not his child.

For centuries they've used it,
All Biblical non-scholars,
To justify forbidding masturbation, and to say

To all who would prohibit
Conception of more children
That anything that interferes with pregnancy is sin.

Today, I wandered into
The world of exigesis,
To find which verse, exactly, gives the context to this rule.

The way I'd always heard it,
"Tis better that the seed be
Cast in the belly of a whore than spilt upon the ground".

Surprisingly, I found out
There IS no verse of scripture
Which says this, nor in any way implies that it is so.

The "verse" is fabrication,
Cast into ancient diction
To make it sound like scripture, so the message would ring true.

Indeed, that very Tamar,
Not fertile, due to Onan,
Seduced her husband's father, and was not cast into hell.

And so, today, I wonder,
How many other places
Are we certain of a shibboleth which never has been real?

How many other "scriptures"
Are the work of politicians
Who need the strength of God's word to support their feeble own?

And most of all, who are we,
We herd of "chosen peoples"
Who somehow think it honors God to not think for ourselves?

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