In His Raving

Updated: Sep 28, 2021

How— in his raving— the master

duffle-ed up in darkness the daughter;

Her, he hurled high, heaven to earth—

no nostalgia, no endearment for embroidered pomp.

Swiftboot to footstool— in his raving day— both leap up and splinter still.

The master tossed (tumbles to shudders)

all Judah’s resplendent counterfeits— smashed

in his raving. Little. Miss. Judah!

Her fortifications— he dragged down.

The kingdom— he defiled— and its princes.

He shatters— in his raving—

Israel’s flinchless jaw, her sturdy phalanxes.

He restrains— face to face— he restrains

that withering fist from our enemy!

He kindles— a single, simple freehand circle—

a flaming maw to choke down Jacob in chunks.

Like a foe he took aim, like a warrior settled solid

in the eager bowstring’s resolute pause. Zion’s girl

all her apparent beauty imploded— her tabernacle

folded like a pile, a rubble, a pyre, a dirty joke— molten

indignation poured polite in a pretty palm.

Lamentations 2:1-4

[Nunc finis]


This poetry is re-raveled from the Book of Lamentations, poetry written after the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem and the Davidic dynasty @586 BC.

But not straight from Lamentations-- the translation started from the Latin Vulgate version. There are textual variations compared with the available Hebrew text, and Latin peculiarities.

And not just sideways from Hebrew to Latin to English-- the poetry attempts the visceral and rhetorical texture of the original. Given the grief, gaudiness and gore, that get's odd.

Even a straight translation is only accurate like an old-fashioned arrow-- building in the bend around the bow for any bull's eye. Not straight, a howling maybe harmony.