A camel cow, the ewe and doe
are called upon to multiply
each family by six or ten
in hard labor, let pain bestow
the mother's joy her young supply
with time to heed the yen again,
and so am I. But he is vile
in sight and smell, by deed or word,
this man to whom my father gave
me, exceeding what must defile
an upright man who thinks absurd
to birth a child to Evil's slave.
But Er lay down and did not rise,
not sick a day. No tearful eyes
that I could see for Judah's son,
old Yakov's face would not despise
what came to him in some surprise,
so swift His call for evil done.
Who plows the ground, and cultivates
its garden plot or sows the seed
that is the master's right and who
the dam will service if by fate's
decree the sire be taken? Need
none to ask in Yakov's clan to
whom the rule is plain, a brother
takes the widow, their progeny
accruing to the one deceased.
For Er, it was Onan, another
selfish man, Judah's oddity
never displaying his increased
wealth, or the means by which it grew.
He would not see the dead be pleased,
a futile rule the living wasted,
no cost to him, the seed he knew
his brother's harvest time released,
in spilling, his own death, he tasted.
His last, Judah would not commit
lest Shelah's fate should be the same,
despite his having no offspring.
So I devised the plan to sit
beside the road when Judah came
for shearing sheep. A fearful thing
to wait, alone, veiled head to feet,
shrine prostitute, the part to play,
refusing all who'd pass, save one.
His price, a fatling lamb to eat,
his seal and staff a pledge, he'd pay
returning home as day was done.
He knew me not till a report,
the gravid widow of his sons,
his seal in hand, named he the one
to twins. In absolution court,
affirmed both sons and sins demand
a name, which cannot be undone.
The Prince of Peace will trace his line
to Israel through Tamar's side,
the prophets say, resolve define
as she who shall not be denied.
Women of the Word
Poems From the Goober Tree http://nathoo.wustl.edu/goober_tree.htm