Desperately needing Abraham,
to no avail.
The man next door was clearly not.
I asked at the model agency:
are Abrahams in short supply?
Two they'd had the month before.
Nothing since, but a rather fine Ezekiel
and a Moses to be proud of.
Then walking home from Mitcham Junction
late one foggy night
crossing Mitcham Common
there he was in flesh and blood,
Abraham as ever was, asking me the time.
Flowing beard as white as snow,
desert robes that also flowed,
leathern sandals, necklaces of beads -
and what for weeks I'd overlooked -
YHWH* tattooed on his arm.
Two days from then
I had the painting done and framed.
*Tetragrammaton, the proper name for God in Hebrew, from which Yahweh,Yahveh and Jahweh are all expansions.
extract from the poem Koi by John Burnside All afternoon we've wandered from the pool to alpine beds and roses ...
The moon petals the sea. Rose petals the sea. Stone sea. Stone petals. Rose petals of stone. Stone rising before me. Sea moves. How moves...
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interesting. At first I thought it might be about Abraham Lincoln. Not sure I understand the painting part.
I like the way the words flow, Dave.
oh well done :)
beautiful...i thought may be you were looking for Lincoln :)
Led around for a while. Just who is Abraham? Flowing robes,beard and all. It would be a great painting!
I'd love to see the painting Dave...but having read this through a few times I think you were looking for a man who could give you the look of Abraham? how amazing then that he had that name tattoed on his arm. Great poem!
By the way we once had Jeremiah and Moses come looking for accomodation at the Potters House!! that was quite a day! unfortunately they didn't take it as they had no deposit!!
very nice...love the tat...haha...yeah the painting part ook a hard right turn for me....great write dave....
I like the way you approached this, Dave... and the ending was a surprise.
I read this earlier and didn't get the painting bit either but having left a few hours and with a clearer head it all makes perfect sense now.
I'm enjoying the Biblical references in your recent series of poems. Keep it up and you will have a themed chapbook!
On second read, the ending was slyly there all along--"I asked at the model shop...a rather fine Ezekiel" HA!
I like the flow of the words, Dave. Well done.
Great blend of everyday life crossed by myth with a marvellous nonchalance.
Was Abraham really on Mitchell Common on that late foggy night or was it just a ghostly vision brought on by the fog. It would be interesting to see how the painting turned out :-).
Oh, this is clever!
First, a word of explanation.
I've had a bit of email correspondence as well as the comments on this verse, so thought it might be helpful for a general note or two.
This goes back to my art school days. Apart from a couple of crucifixions, I only ever painted one vaguely "Biblical" subject (though traditionalists would probably not have recognised it as such), which was an interpretation of the Genesis story of Abraham preparing to sacrifice his son Isaac - which seemed to me to have the same dramatic possibilities and theological overtones as the cricifixion.
I did have some difficulty with the figure of Abraham and for some time closely observed strangers in the street, on buses etc, hoping for a moment of inspiration. I did not, however, consult an agency. That bit is pure poetic license! However, there was at the time an agency which supplied models, both costume and nude, to life classes andwhich began to offeralso models dressed as historical figures or for role plays etc. This struck me at the time as rather amusing and I have always remembered it.
Thank you for your last remark. It alerted me to a certain lack of clarity in the final two lines. Hope my redraft of them has helped.
Thanks David. Much appreciated.
Welcome. Good to have your comment. Thank you for it.
AH, I hadn't thought of that.
Patriarch and founder of the Hebrew Nation - quite a chunk of the Book of Genesis is devoted to him.
Alas, I no longer have the painting. As to the tattoo, if I am to be rigorously honest, I am not 100% sure of it. It was night time and foggy. At the time I was convinced - maybe in the excitement of having found my Abraham! Later, all I could have sworn to in a court of law was that it was something very like it! For a while, mY mind was totally engaged in trying to remember what I needed of his features. (I didn't use the tattoo in the painting.)
Jeremiah and Moses between them couldn't raise the wind? What is prophesy coming to?
Thanks for that - hard right turn and all!
Sometimes its difficult to know in what order to release the various bits of info. Leaving this to the end was always the plan, but it seems to have thrown some.
It maybe that I'd added the words "done and" between your visits. Thanks for pointing out.
What you should perhaps know is that even in my far off days as a Methodist Lay Preacher, I was always the heretic.
Ah, that word slyly pleases me. Not sure if it should, but it does.
Much thanks for saying so.
Thanks again. Helpful comments.
Of course he was there! He asked me the time!
Good to know you thought that. Thanks!
Goodness, YOU, a heretic?? Interesting, Dave! A well-versed heretic though for sure.
I hope your model realises how fortunate he is to be the recepient of the gift of immortality.
Most of us can only dream of being captured forever on canvas!
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