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The Sacrifice

(A retelling of the story of Abraham and Isaac)

Abraham and Isaac, Rembrandt (1634)
Abraham and Isaac, Rembrandt (1634)

A weary journey, a wakeful night,
They left their camp before daylight
An old man carrying the weight of years
Wrinkled cheeks wet with tears
At hearing the young boy at his side
Prattle on with childish pride
That he alone had been chosen
To help his father on this mission.

Continue reading “The Sacrifice”

The Mitchell and May (Pre-)Show

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

“You’re looking at the wrong camera.”

“No, you are, May. I’m looking at camera B.”

“Camera A’s on first. Get a grip, Mitchell!”

“Camera B, May. Why are you wearing brown? I told you I was wearing brown today.”

“This? It’s more maroon than brown! Do I have to get you a color wheel? And go easy on the makeup. Good grief! Is that blush, Mitchell?”

So? What’s wrong with a little color?”

“Just feels like you’re auditioning for the Moulin Rouge, that’s all.”

The producer sighed. “More like the Punch and Judy show,” he mumbled in the control booth.

100 words; Fiction
For Rochelle Wisooff-Fields' Friday Fictioneers
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CFFC: Patterns in Nature

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is Patterns in Nature. One of the things that strikes a naturalist is the singularity and uniqueness of things in nature, even where patterns exist, like a snowflake, for example. But that paradox gives us more cause to wonder at creation, and the hand behind it.

Growing by the sidewalk suburban ever so wondrously!
Mushrooms on the march on the median
They’re not tribbles, but they do like to burrow.
Like the backside of your maiden aunty’s bloomers, they like to flaunt it!
Gorgeous green with no paucity of purpose: chlorophyll growing and glowing
Petrified Tree Trunk from the Triassic Period about 200 million years old (in front of the Smithsonian Musuem of Natural History), found near Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

You Have Been Good to Me, LORD

I’m loving the Psalms this morning, especially those whose words have sunk deep into my heart. Of them, Psalm 121 always comes to mind. And how it causes me to say, in the words of Psalm 13: 6, “I will sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me.”

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?

My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.

Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand.

The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.

The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.

Psalm 121 (ESV)
Audrey Assad, “Good To Me” (lyrics below)

Good To Me (Audrey Assad)

I put all my hope on the truth of Your promise
And I steady my heart on the ground of Your goodness
When I’m bowed down with sorrow I will lift up Your name
And the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy

Because You are good to me, good to me
You are good to me, good to me
You are good to me

And I lift my eyes to the hills where my help is found
Your voice fills the night – raise my head up to hear the sound
Though fires burn all around me I will praise You, my God
And the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy

Because You are good to me, good to me
You are good to me, good to me
You are good to me, yeah

Your goodness and mercy shall follow me
All my life
I will trust in Your promise

Yeah, Your goodness and mercy shall follow me
All my life
I trust in Your promise

Your goodness and mercy shall follow me
All my life
I will trust in Your promise

Because You’ re good (You are good to me, good to me)
So good (You are good to me, good to me)
You are good to me

An Incident

“Tweet me not weary in this whirligig of time.” She stabbed the Styrofoam cup with the stick end of a small American flag. “I’m homeless by design unmet by need. You need not apply.”

The politician’s flunkie grimaced. “Ma’am, we’ve been told to clear the area.”

“Nobody’s here. Starbucks brothers in the Amazon, sister’s Facebooking. Red Zone, Blue Zone, Ozone. Google it.”

“They’re armed,” he warned.

“Say, Moby Dick’s back from the dead. ‘Sometimes the great bones of my life feel so heavy.’ Tell them Ambergris is worth a fortune.”

“Ma’am?”

“Eyes and pearls. My home’s on my back. Your bones are too light. ‘From hell’s heart, I stab . . . .’”

A shot rang out. The bag lady crumpled, fell.

“’Ye damned whale’,” said the flunkie, winking at the FBI agent. “’I don’t give reasons. I give orders!’”

Written for dVerse's Prosery: Bone Weary -- 144 words utilizing 
the line: "Sometimes the great bones of my life feel so heavy."
All other quotes are from Moby Dick by Herman Melville.

A Common-Place Jotting: “A low dishonest decade”

Auden in 1939

Common-Place or “Locus Communis” — a place to remember

Anglo-American poet W. H. Auden wrote “September 1, 1939” at the outbreak of World War II in Europe. It’s a poem that’s often quoted during times of crises such as ours, and only seems to highlight the recurring cycles of political dissimulation and media exacerbated fury that escalates into tragedy. While battling a virus, we’ve “cancelled” each other and branded each other racists and bigots. We’ve listened to politicians and oligopolies wildly denounce opponents of their agendas as terrorists. We’ve been witness to unchecked brutality this past year as our cities burned with mob violence during which thirty people were murdered, and neighborhoods and livelihoods went up in smoke while governors and mayors watched.

Auden began the poem with these words:

I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.

In the penultimate stanza he cautions: “We must love one another or die.” The same holds true today.

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

excerpt from W. H. Auden’s September 1, 1939

Read the complete poem at poets.org. And hear the poet Dylan Thomas read it below.

A Common-Place Jotting: In Dir Ist Freude

Common-Place or “Locus Communis” — a place to remember

http://www.hymntime.com/tch

Written by Johann Lindemann in 1598, “In Dir Ist Freude” (“In Thee is Gladness”) was translated from the German by Catherine Winkworth almost three hundred years later. Winkworth was a pioneer in promoting women’s rights as well as promoting women’s higher education. Johann Lindemann was one of the signers of the Lutheran Formula of Concord, and served often as a cantor in various churches in his native Germany. The hymn is often performed using J.S. Bach’s arrangement.

In Thee is Gladness              

In thee is gladness amid all sadness,
Jesus, sunshine of my heart!
By thee are given the gifts of heaven,
thou the true redeemer art!
Our souls thou wakest, our bonds thou breakest,
who trusts thee surely hath built securely,
and stands forever: Hallelujah!
Our hearts are pining to see thy shining,
dying or living to thee are cleaving,
naught can us sever: Hallelujah!

If he is ours, we fear no powers,
nor of earth, nor sin, nor death.
He sees and blesses in worst distresses;
he can change them with a breath.
Wherefore the story, tell of his glory,
with heart and voices all heav’n rejoices
in him forever: Hallelujah!
We shout for gladness, triumph o’er sadness,
love thee and praise thee,
and still shall raise thee
glad hymns forever: Hallelujah!

Continue reading “A Common-Place Jotting: In Dir Ist Freude”

Broken

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

I am one of those who stands amazed at how good we Americans are at hating each other. (An article I read in Tablet Magazine sums it up pretty well.) We aren’t completely broken as a nation, but we’re getting there — and fast, thanks to the usual suspects who stand to profit from our wounds.

Doomed with seeds of death
Larvae in the heart of the nation
Infecting as we feed
Tenacious in our sanctimony
Pauciloquent in offering peace
Grandiloquent in stirring discord
Blind worms blindly devouring
Hope, love, understanding,
Inflicting pain in a fractured society
Never as fervent for another’s dignity
As for ourselves, trampling harmony
Freedom to disagree without fear
Never overcoming what we are
Broken by prideful venom
At the core of every human heart.

“Avoid going entirely tree-blind,” writes the author of the article above. “Make a friend and don’t talk politics with them. Do things that generate love and attention from three people you actually know instead of hundreds you don’t.”

#WWP (73 words, "tenacious"); #WOTD ("pauciloquent")

When Dreams Come True

Genre: Fiction/ Word Count: 100

When Dreams Come True

     Holding tightly to her mother’s hand, the little girl looked upon the figure in the casket.
     “Did Appappan* really die preaching?” she whispered.
     Her mother nodded. “He always said he would.”
     Behind them hundreds had gathered to pay their respects.
     Later, the girl sat in her granddad’s study, thumbing through his notes, tracing the leather cracks on his Bible.
     A favorite hymn bubbled up from within her. She started to sing, feeling as if a choir of angels were joining her.
     That night she announced, “I want to die singing, Mummy, like Appappan died preaching!”
     Many years later, she did.

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

*”Appappan” is southern Indian for grandfather

Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Fields' Friday Fictioneers
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