Sunday, May 20, 2012

For God so Loved the World...

The Binding of Isaac by Marc Chagall


The Binding of Isaac – Genesis 22



"Take your son
your only son
whom you love…"

Twenty-two chapters into Scripture
and it's the first time love is mentioned
as God tells Abraham,

"sacrifice Isaac
as a burnt offering"

What swirls
through the mind
of this old patriarch
(who after a hundred years
fathers the son
of God's promise…
the son he loves and
proudly watches grow)
What swirls as he swings
the sharp axe, splitting wood

It was three days journey
from Beersheba to Moriah—
Leaving his servants behind
Abraham hands Isaac
the bundled wood
and carries fire and knife
up the mount

"Avi" (my father)
"where is the lamb?"

"God will provide the lamb
my son"

Abraham erects an altar of stone
arranges the wood and binds the lad
(whose faith and obedience
must be at least as great as his own)

Unflinching before the God
he has finally come to trust
the aged patriarch
(known to lie
to save his own skin
known to try to pull off
God's covenant himself
when it seemed God was slow
in keeping His promise)
this same patriarch…
raises the glinting blade
above his son, his only son
whom he loves…

to knife-fall
the angel of the Lord calls

"Abraham! Abraham!
Do not lay a hand on the boy…"

The old man
who proves he would
withhold nothing from his God—
drops the bloodless blade
unbinds and embraces Isaac

O boundless relief
Effusive praise

and there, tangled
in a thicket, struggles
the substitute sacrifice
…a ram

Two millennia later
God's Son
His only Son
Whom He loves
carries wood
of a crossbeam
up the very same mountain

No angel of the Lord
arrives last moment
to halt the hammerfall
No ram appears
in a thicket

For God so loves
the world
He provides…
His Son
His only Son…The Lamb

Maude Carolan

Sunday, May 13, 2012

To The Daughters of Dear Old Mothers...


Never had the opportunity--
missed the privilege
of doting upon my old mother.
Mother died
of a heart attack
at fifty-one.

Watch with envy--
sweet old mothers
with rosy rouged cheeks
and charming smiles
carefully navigating
footed canes
or wheeled walkers.
Dutiful daughters
accompany them
in doctor’s waiting rooms,
taking their tweed coats,
making small talk
about the grandchildren
and what Aunt So And So
will be serving
the church ladies for lunch.
Blessed daughters,
who left beds unmade,
dishes in the sink,
who listen attentively
to doctor’s instructions,
see that Medicare
and supplementary insurances
are processed properly,
who assist them
with their coats
and to their cars,
stopping at pharmacies
on the way home.

Maude Carolan

Happy Mother's Day to moms young and old. God bless you!

(This poem received honorable mention in the national Allen Ginsberg Poetry Contest, several years ago.)

Sunday, May 6, 2012


When I applied stinging iodine
to the tender knees of my children
or a corrective spank
or a hug to assuage a broken heart
I remember that
their wounds, hurts
even the chastisements
wounded me more than them –
Why, I would've become a she-lion
poised to pounce and mangle
bruisers of my own –
yet the very God I know as Love
was pleased to crush
was delighted to bruise[2]
His Very Own

So, I shudder, convinced
God's ways are infinitely higher
than my finite mind can grasp –
for God stayed His almighty hand
held His almighty tongue
waited it out in His Heaven
pleased, even delighted
to give His Only Son
innocent, docile as a lamb
to be mocked, bruised, spat upon
crowned with thorn branches
stripped and nailed naked to a tree –

yes, pleased and delighted was He
as The Most Precious Blood
of His Only Son
rained like rubies
upon the ground

Pleased and delighted am I
that the God Who so loves
crushed and bruised
His Very Own
for me

Maude Carolan                                                                              

[1] Isaiah 53:10 "New American Standard Bible"
[2] Isaiah 53:10 , "Young's Literal Translation of the Holy Bible"