Abraham: with laughter by Madeleine L’Engle

Abraham: with laughter
Madeleine L’Engle

Unlike the other gods
you are not satisfied with holocausts
and the sweet smell of smoke.
Unlike the other gods
you do not let us be
but come and pitch your tent
with ours and sniff out
all we do. You are not satisfied
to have us satisfied,
to leave well enough alone.

No, you sent me out,
an old man, with your interfering
and your promises, and all your countings
of the stars and my son’s son’s sons.
You might have picked a better man
to fall before the terror of great darkness.
Twice, fear for my life
passed my wife off as sister.
Why not, with her barren womb?

And then a son. In my old age a son.
You do nothing like the other gods
and so I know you are my God
and my son’s God and my son’s sons’.
I do not understand the stars
uncountable in number;
Nor do I understand you.

I wept. And when,
after all, you did not accept my sacrifice,
the ram brought laughter home.

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