Monday, August 30, 2004

Sacrificing Isaac

We've executed Isaac, and we call
him hero, having fed upon his flesh.
With oil his skull anointed, hold we high
his sacred goblet overfull with wine
and pour it on the stone as chisel bites
his name into this monument. The grit-
contaminated wine appears as blood
which, splashing from the letter-gouges, seems
to issue from the very rock itself.
We celebrate the dead. We honor those
consumed, whom we have sent to satisfy
this festival of arrogance; we call
them Heroes whom we've offered up to feed
this faithless, fearsome creature. We can find
in any city anywhere about
the globe these granite walls, these obelisks,
these sandstone totem poles, these litanies,
these condemnation curses dug in stone,
these names whose bones, alone, have journeyed home.
We make this ample sacrifice of souls
again, another generation rich
in hope, and hope it's pleased this monster we've
created in our image and our greed.
Our pride has given bloody Ba'al form,
which we now feed our own. In gratitude,
we comfort a parade of widows and
of grieving mothers, telling them, "Be proud,
for he served well, stood firm before the face
of hate, until the gaping maw of Death
snapped shut upon and swallowed him.
You see? His name is here in stone. He is
a Hero. Honor him; remember him."
Remember Him . . . We must remember Him.

By Pete Freas

Copyright 2004 by Pete Freas.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry 360 with permission of the author.
For more poetry by Pete Freas see The Mindworm.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Interestingly complex imagery and a depiction of the unsettling, contradictory nature of blind faith. Why do the old storied still resonate within us?

d king