May 17, 2013
Having a word with Judah
Having A Word With Judah
by Mary Harwell Sayler
Someone must have told you stories of your great-
grandfather, Abram, and your great-grandmother,
Sarai – how they had domestic troubles, struggling
to amend the word they’d heard. Surely someone
called them foolish to be so old and childless yet
still plotting, childlike, toward their promised life.
Someone must have said how Isaac, born of long-
held laughter, later wed Rebekah, your grand-
mother, who best-loved her darling Jacob
(the younger twin) and thought him wise.
Someone may have talked in circles of your family’s
love-triangle: how first your father, Jacob, loved
his second wife – the lovely Rachel – more than
he loved your mother, Leah, and how he felt betrayed
by Laban, your grandfather on the other side.
Did you have a clue?
What did you think of the ongoing quarrels, mystifying
motivations, and dramatic scenes between the women
and the men? Were you caught up in the middle, like
that ram caught in the thicket that saved your grandpa,
Isaac, from Abraham’s fearsome hand?
Did it bother you when your family clan altered story
settings, characters, and titles like, “Jacobson” to “sons
of Israel” or “Child of Abram” to “The (more generic)
Chosen” or “True Sons of Abraham”?
How did you like knowing you never would be favored
with your father’s pride in Joseph: your half-brother
and first cousin (antagonist! talebearer!) of you six sons
of Leah – strong, abiding sons of Leah – who contrived
that gory story pouring from your Aunt Rachel’s side?
© 2013, Mary Harwell Sayler, all rights reserved. The poem originally appeared on the Catholic Lane website in 2011.