I stop before the sacrifice, before Abraham raises the knife,
before he binds his child and lays him on the altar.
I stop before their three-day walk up the mountain, before Isaac
asks the obvious, innocent question. Before
the evasive “God will provide,” even before the command
itself is spoken—a test, a murder as a token. I stop
and put down the book with all its heaviness.
Then, I rise and walk into the woods,
grow quiet and listen. And the only God I can
imagine would never require even
the ram. I stop at the beginning,
at Abraham’s words—
Here I am.
I learned that story as a child and just took away the southern Christian spin of a God who provides. As an adult I am horrified by that story. I think I will just stop at the beginning from now on, too.
Yes! Thanks for sharing, Jasmine!
Jonathan Safran Foer explores this topic in his novel, Here I Am
Fabulous book You do so much in a few words
Thank you, Pat! And thank you for the book recommendation!
I love the form of this poem – the couplets and the narrowing lines, as you slowly narrow down what you believe. Really effective! Plus, I couldn’t agree with you more.
Agree with Kathleen– the form works well and I, too, agree completely!
‘the book with all its heaviness’ so true
This story always slayed me pardon the pun—you capture what many of us have trouble comprehending, understanding—yes stop at the beginning’