Poetry by Jael
by jael bietsch

Most blessed among women is Jael,
the wife of heber the Kenite;
blessed is she among women in tents.
Judges 4:24

In this dry foreign acre, might I find
Deborah dreaming under her tree,
some feminist visionary
upon whose lips this name
discovered its origin.
Would she shackle this fate
to my foot and this mountain,
to repeat the legendary sins of a woman
with the supple strength and quiet
beauty of a wild goat?

Gather the judges to consider my destiny,
obedient and acting on prophecy,
heroine, puppet, woman or wife,
doing the unexpected, what's expected of me.
Hammer my soul to the ground in shackles,
kneeling in puddle and stiff flow of duty, or life.
In the oath of God, weak victory.
God has promised me
this name sing his people,
the dying word seals a legacy.

I am not her. She is
not me, who must deny her ways
and will for a name
murmured on desert winds which carry
the salt and sweat off her longings
. . . to own a soul
as gentle as clouds against sun or plum horizons,
to bloom unnoticed in damp woods and deserts by sea,
as quiet as dusk or dawn,
for a heart as wild and calm as wind
and whisper of water slipping over stones . . .

Who must know an eternity of days
waiting out the ghost, for judgement
and release unforgiving
ache bleeding up from the ground,
shackled to places she would not go.
Whose eyes question a secretive sky
that overcomes clouds to brush her where she waits
searching some part of her
breath and death in destiny.

Weak and faithless and shackled by fate
to unmoveable mountains that much farther from sea,
limited to hoof and heart
beat of a goat, by oath and legacy
leaping rocks among mountains,
bleating to the sky for a different name.

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    © 1995 Jael Bietsch

    This site created and maintained by Off the Page Graphics.
    March 8, 2000