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Reflections from ‘Biblical Voices’

Reflections from ‘Biblical Voices’

A member of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Burlington, since 1993, Merryn Rutledge shares poems from her manuscript Biblical Voices below. She explains, “Both retell the stories as I try to hear the voices of people who are not heard from directly in the narratives that have come down to us.” Do you have Reflections that you’d like to share in The Mountain? Contact communications@diovermont.org for consideration.

The Woman at the Well – Watching

Hot. Dust everywhere, coating the insides
Of our mouths and caking our feet to cracking.
We were tired of walking, crowds and borrowed rest.
The men had left to find us bread–
Jesus, sitting apart, as he would often do.

Suddenly, from a shimmering mirage, the woman appeared–
She saw that we were Jews and yet
Came on, clutching her jar in the breathless heat,
Glancing sideways with something—how to say–
Of a doe as it steps from the shade to make a crossing.

Jesus spoke then, boldly, as was his way.
Did she startle, as I did when he first turned
To me? Had she only meant to fill her jar
Or had she heard the murmurs of our
Coming as she glided, invisible among her people?

Now I often think of her venturing out,
As we wait, whispering in hidden rooms.

***

John 4: 4-42


Sarah Names Isaac, Meaning ‘Laughter’

Genesis 18:12 and 21:6

To name my darling, ‘Laughter,’ I had only to recall
the strange quickening when, lighting the fire for our meal,
I imagined, after so many years, my belly full
as I bent to fill my jar from the stream bed, light fire,
grind grain—of caressing my roundness with one hand as I worked.
When an intimation whispered that I would conceive,
I felt my old face crease in a smile and my belly
shake as laughter lifted wonder from a dry, dark place.

Isaac means “laughter” in the ancient language.

© Merryn Rutledge. All Rights Reserved.

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