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Friday, June 5, 2015

[Verses in Verse] The Ark and the Dove

"Verses in Verse" is a series of poems based on Bible passages, in which I try to re-tell the meaning of the passage but from a different perspective.  Here is the story of Noah's ark, as experienced by the dove.

A tale from ancient Ararat:
Under young Dove’s watchful eye,
The frame of the great boat took shape.
Each beam was placed with pains untold
For Noah’s building crew was slim
(It was just his three sons and him.)

Around the floating zoo’s construction
Mankind frolicked toward destruction.
At night the drunks went stumbling home
By day the quarreling boys threw rocks.
The Dove grew old until at last
The final nail was driven in.

She fluttered ‘round the upper deck
And perched on new-hewn gopher wood
As Noah’s family bustled in.
Dove’s eye saw what man’s could not:
The hot sun blazed, but in the west
A tiny, smudge-like rain-cloud grew.

Dove sped to town: “It comes!  The rain!”
“Get on the boat!” she squawked in vain.
But people hardly noticed her,
And if they looked up from their sins
They only shrugged at her strange calls,
As frenzied Dove flew house to house.

With the first fat drop of rain
All warning time was at an end.
Noah drove the last two goats
Into the ark’s new livestock pens
And Dove soared in (the last one saved)
As Japheth slammed the main door shut.

The first few days were hell-like there
As beasts and men clawed at the hull
Their wails and cries and roars and sighs
Stole sleep from everyone inside.
The wrath of judgment drowned the earth.
Soon all was quiet ‘round the boat.

The next few months were long and wet.
Old Dove was tired.  She longed to fly
On hillsides lush and prosperous.
Instead she lurched, green at the wings,
And held her perch in seasickness
Afraid to fall among the wolves.

One Sabbath, Noah sought her out:
 “How are your wings?” (Dove flapped them twice.)
He nodded at her eagerness
And took her up to the top rail
To give her this important task:
“Fly on until you find the land.”
She caught a breeze and flew a-sea.

There was no earth to be found
That week, so she returned to rest.
The next week she flew out again
And found some trees up through the sea.
Oh, hopeful, long-awaited sight!
She plucked a branch and resumed flight.

Back at the ark, the family gasped
With reverence at the olive branch.
They praised their God (she praised him too),
For now they knew the end was near.
Next week she flew out one last time,
And landed on a lush, green hill.

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