Friday, September 23, 2011

Genesis XXXVII (Lot & his daughters)

Then Abraham, the wise first-spear, departed alone at dawn
standing again where he had spoken before with his Sovereign.
He saw rising up from the earth a slaughter-grim smoke far away.
Pride and wine-drunkenness had wormed their way into them
so that they became voracious for vile deeds, brash in their sins,
overstepping the truth, the decrees of the Lord, who had given
them their wealth, the fruits in their cities.
Therefore the King of Angels sent them a swollen-hot flame
as vengeance. Our Sovereign pledge-fast remembered then
honorable Abraham, his beloved man, as he often did—
He warded Lot his kinsman from the others, when the many perished. (2576-90)

The deed-bold man did not dare then for dread of his Lord
to dwell for long in that fastness, but Lot soon departed,
going from that city together with his children and looking
for a camp farther from that fatal place, until they found
an earth-cave in the side of a tall hill. There the blessed Lot
dwelled firm in his troth, dear to his Wielder, a great number
of counts of day with his two daughters. (2591-99)

[Leaf missing, probably corresponding to Genesis 19:31-32]

And so they did—the older woman went first into the bed
of the drunken man, father to them both. Nor did grey-haired man
know when both the women were as brides to him, he was fast
constrained in his spirit-cage, mind and memory, so that he could not,
drunk with wine, understand the deeds of those maids. (2600-06)

The ladies were both quickened and those loving sisters begat
sons in this world, the heirs of their aged father. The mother
of that noble son, Lot’s daughter who was older in life’s winters
named the one child Moab. Scripture tells us, god-kindly books,
that the younger woman called her own child Ammon.
From these first-spears was begotten an uncountable race,
two powerful peoples. The one of these tribes of earth-dwellers
was called the Moabites, a kith widely-famous. The other
men, the children of nobles, were called the Ammonites. (2607-20)


Countdown: 4 sections, 316 lines. Wish me luck!

No comments: