Where I summarize each Old Testament book into a couplet.
Long ago I was a poet. Born and bred to be obscure.
Eventually, I got my clock cleaned as an advertising copywriter…and learned the trade of clear, concise and compelling copy.
Shortly before that happened, though, I bent over my desk…Bible in hand…and summarized each book of the Bible into a couplet.
What’s a Couplet?
Nothing more than a two-line poem that rhymes. Some couplets are metered…like the . Some aren’t…like mine.
Good couplets snap, both in rhyme and sound. Bad couplets plod, artificial in rhyme and sound.
I’ve got both.
I mean, imagine trying to summarize a book of law like . A book of history like . Or a mammoth prophet like .
So warning, some of the following couplets snap. Some plod.
Sun and vine, horse and man: creatures of garden
Alone until woman–then, enter dragon.
Moses redeemed the enslaved Hebrews
From Egypt, led them through the Red Sea, too.
An altar of bulls and rams and doves burnt
Was the old Hebrew way of atonement.
Rebels, lethargic beneath their thick tents,
Murmured like arid wilderness insects.
Incantation of the law to love the Lord
With your whole heart, soul, mind is not absurd.
You, who conquered, Canaan, melancholy
Men, don’t betray God and be unholy.
The cycle of imperfect deliverance
By judges: sin, salvation to silence.
See the heathen sways with grain reapers–
Led to glean and wait for her redeemer.
Bear-throttler boy slays giant, wins the throne.
Postponed by Saul the insane–David, semi-alone.
Saul dead, David reigns, waters the kingdom
Till nude Bathsheba. Uriah, we’ll blame.
David dead, old monarch Solomon woos
Foreign women (Elijah burns wet wood).
Elijah is possessed by fire, so
Are both kingdoms of Israel disposed.
Annals of Adam through David, the ideal
King to establish holy israel.
With cedar, stone Solomon builds temple
That sin decomposes; exile of people.
Cyrus allows exiles to follow Ezra
To restore their temple in Judah.
Nurture the stones and the wall will blossom–
Bow and banish strange wives and you will bloom.
Shushan Jews, fast for me–my maids will too.
If I perish, I perish, saving Hebrews.
The pure, pale Job emptied by hell’s violence,
Bewitched by the wind–the dark voice bred silence.
Born before mountains, you wardrobe’s water–
Calm, by it I lay, and sing of Savior.
The fear of the Lord is the origin
Of knowledge, the cradle of discipline.
You will not smile, epicure, when,
Bereft of moisture, you waste under the sun.
Song of Solomon
The husband chose from his harem of flowers,
A lily–they slept in her childhood chamber.
Diviner of Babylon holocaust,
Soothsayer of consolation through Christ.
The celibate poet wore a yoke, a thong
To warn of banishment, deep and long.
Bereft of city, poet sings funeral ode
To deaf daughters: o souls, mourn to God!
Wasted bones began to waft around me
Flourishing like sulphur butterflies.
In the pure waste and ash of asylum
He heard seventy messianic logarithms.
I shall lie, love, with a whore who won’t love Me.
Bride, bear children who will leave.
A heathen swarm of locust have eaten
The vine. Repent–the old, young will dream again.
Wild horticulturist cum oracle
Blend visions: waste and wet earth, beautiful.
Edom, through you set your nest ‘mong the stars,
The Lord will dismay, exhaust you by fires.
At the whale-belly dweller’s cry, the city
Collapsed, dissolved, and prayed for God’s mercy.
The mountains and hills swarm to witness both
Man’s judgment and the coming of Christ’s birth.
Rest, Judah, in the blossoms of cedar
While I walk Nineveh off to thresh her.
When the just wither and fade, Lord, I loathe
To ask you, why do pagans thrive? “Live by faith.”
Holy, holy Lord, allow Judah to waste,
Heathens to waste–clear, gather Her at last.
Do not neglect to build or plant fig groves
Or drape a curtain inside–Christ must disrobe.
They shall look upon the face, Zechariah,
Of Him they’ve pierced–the Messiah.
The estranged desert souls will be nurtured
Back to greenness by a half-naked shepherd.
Did I mention I’ve got a morbid streak? That’s probably why I enjoy the Prophets the most. And poetry in general.
Which books of the Bible’s are your favorite? Which couplet did you like best? Do you write poetry? Did you know April’s ?