Friday, March 17, 2017

Solomon (a poem)

A freshman high-school project, March 1983

By Geoffrey Dean

This is the story of Solomon, that wise and wonderful king,
    who built for Yahweh a temple, a big and marvelous thing.
Pharoah’s daughter in marriage Solomon wished.
    This placed him high on Pharoah’s list.

Solomon, that great and glorious king,
    found Pharoah’s daughter, and did offer her a ring,
which, of course, she did accept;
    and off in marriage they did trek.

Solomon with Yahweh was an ally strong,
    and in Yahweh’s eyes he could do no wrong.
But why were Solomon and Yahweh such good friends?
    Because Solomon’s wishes were to selfless ends.
For in a dream Yahweh to Solomon did appear
    and for the first time in many a year
a servant of Yahweh asked not for power, or wealth, or looks,
    but for a heart to listen, to pass fair judgment on crooks,
and the ability to distinguish evil from good,
    for justice, thought he, was more important than money, or food.
Yahweh was awfully surprised, and terribly impressed;
    it was too good to be true, as he later confessed.
“But, then again,” said Yahweh, in jest,
    “his father, Kind David, was only nearly my best.”

Two women came to Solomon, and each gave him her plea:
    “I didn’t kill the boy!” “How dare you accuse me!”
Both claimed to be the living boy’s mother,
    and each denied she killed the other.
Solomon, the just, Solomon, the wise,
    suggested a solution; yes, he’d cut the kid down to size.
“Let’s,” he said, “let’s halve the boy, one half for each.”
    But of Solomon one mother did beseech:
“Kill not this boy, but let him live,
    and him to this other mother give.”
“No,” said the other, Solomon’s plan to affirm,
    “Let neither of us have him; let’s kill the little worm!”
“Ah,” said Solomon, the wise, the just, the fair,
    “Let us on this child’s head harm not one hair!
“This first woman is the mother,
    who would rather give her own son to another
“than see him halved, one half for each;
    now she shall have the boy, her son, and let this teach
“the people of Israel all
    the justice of Solomon, the wise, the tall.*
* [The author noted in May 1983: It was demonstrated by Nick Bryan in May 1983 that this last line can be rendered effectively by raising the voice for the last two words, as if asking a question, and looking rather incredulously at the author. If the author (some refer to him as the Master Poet) is not himself present, the same, or similar, effect can be gotten by looking in this same quizzical manner at the person who has requested you to recite this poem. The response of the audience is varied, since they know not whether the recitalist is looking as if to ask, “Huh?” or “What?” or “Why me?” or if he is merely trying to suggest that this is second-rate stuff or the poet must have had a bad day.]

Copyright © 2017 by Geoffrey Dean

1 comment:

  1. Very good Geoff. I must admit my thinking as a freshman in high school was not running along these lines. Ha!