Sarah: before Mount Moriah by Madeleine L’Engle

Sarah: before Mount Moriah
Madeleine L’Engle

Like a small mouse
I am being played with.
Pushed around, sent from home,
passed off as a sister,
free to be the sport of others
(nobody asked me).
Nobody asked if I wanted
to leave home and all my friends
(the cat never asks the mouse).
Would my womb have filled
if we had stayed where we were
instead of following strange promises?
My maid, giving my husband a child for me,
then made mock of me.
So when the angel came
announcing –promising–
a child in my womb long dry
what could I do but laugh?
And then warmth came again, and fullness,
and my child was born,
my laughter, my joy.

But do not play with me any more!
What kind of logic lurks in your promise
that the sky full of stars
is like the number of our descendants
and then demand the son’s life who makes
that Promise possible?
Can I trust a breaker of promises?
What kind of game is this?
Are you laughing at my pain
as I watch the child and his father
climb the mountain?
Am I no more than a mouse
to be played with?

I am a woman.
You –father-God–
have yet to learn
what it is to be a mother,

and so, perhaps, have I.
And if you give me back my laughter again,
then, together we can learn
and I will say –oh, I will sing!–
that you have regarded the lowliness
of your handmaiden.

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