Saturday, April 19, 2008

Peniel

Let me begin by saying
I never once had the upper hand,
but I gave it everything I had.

I shouldn't have expected
to reach Canaan unscarred.

It has not come easily,
this life.
I had to fight, to scheme
for my birthright
(worth so much more
than a mess of pottage)
for my Rachel
(my beautiful,
scrappy stealer-of-gods)
for my visions
(born on pillow
made of dreamless stone).

I shouldn't have expected
to reach Canaan unscarred.

It did not pass quietly,
this night.
I thought this dream, this fight
was with my twin
(older, stronger,
though I can outwit him)
with my past
(my emulous,
scrappy stealing-of-blessing)
with myself
(born to hold on
to my brother’s heel).

I shouldn't have expected
to reach Canaan unscarred.

He did not give quarter,
this Warrior.
I met Him with everything
I could muster
(cunning, swiftness,
my best feints and holds)
through the night
(stubborn darkness
to the straining dawn)
conceding
(finally) that
I need His blessing.

I certainly don't expect
to become Israel unscarred.


Let me end by saying
I never once had the upper hand,
but I see, right here, the face of God.


The poem is mine; the painting is the work of
Eugène Delacroix (1861).

18 comments:

Hidden in Christ said...

wow. wow. and more wow. thank you for sharing this beautiful honest poem. what an amazing piece of writing!

i am thinking that the "upper hand" is the right hand of God :) that's what i got mostly from your poem. keep writing. it's amazing and people are listening. and God is smiling, indeed.

Choralgirl said...

Thanks AGAIN, HIC. :-)

There are several people dear to me who seem to be wrestling with various angels, and I was thinking about them, and the times in my own life that it's been true, when I wrote this in response to the Delacroix painting.

I've always found Jacob a fascinating guy.

Chorus said...

Beautiful Poem!

And welcome to the Revgals! I'm a choral-type as well... look forward to reading your blog.

Choralgirl said...

Thanks, Chorus--glad you came to visit! :-)

Diane said...

this is wonderful! say.

Choralgirl said...

Diane--Hi, neighbor! Bet we've met at some point. The Lutheran world is a small one. Look forward to reading you more! Oh, and blessed birthday--and I'm sorry about your pup.

Songbird said...

Hi, and welcome to RevGals! I appreciated the poem, too, just gorgeous.

Jiff said...

Welcome to Revgals!

Tripp Hudgins said...

From one choral geek to another, welcome to RevGals!

Singing Owl said...

Welcome to REv Gals, and OH MY OH MY, as one who has been wrestling and feeling like Jacob all too often lately...that was WONDERFUL!
WOW!

Mary Beth said...

love the poem. Welcome to RG!

Cecilia said...

This is BREATHTAKING. WOW!!! Just, wow. Gorgeous.

Thank you.

Pax, C.

The Swandive said...

wowwowwowwowwow. came by via cecilia, and am so glad I have. so glad to find you.

Suzer said...

Beautiful! Thank you. (Came here via Cecilia's blog.)

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

I have always loved and identified with this story. Thanks for giving it more layers through your poem.

Choralgirl said...

Hello there, gracious visitors--thank you so much for coming by, for the warm welcome, and for your kind words. :-)

Shalom!

FranIAm said...

I am just silenced by the power, the beauty and the awe of your words.

Thank you!

I am so glad Cecilia directed me here.

RevDrKate said...

Stunning poem! Found you through Cecelia. Welcome to RevGals, good to see another Minnesota blogger.