Exiting Mitzrayim
A poem for Pesach

A poem that makes me weep

My friend Megan sent me the link to a poem which knocks me right out. It makes me weep. In honor of national poetry month, in honor of this amazing poem and the surely amazing poet who crafted it, I encourage all of y'all to go and read.

The poem is by Dr. Mohja Kahf, born in Damascus and now a professor in Arkansas. (Here's a NYTimes article about her for those who are curious.) To me it reads as contemporary creative midrash (and perhaps also a form of tafsir?) It takes this story which is central to each tradition (though told differently, understood differently, by "us" and by "them") and on the hooks the story provides, hangs a new narrative which changes everything. This is transformative work, on every level.

The poem begins:

All Good

     They see it as far-off,
      but We see it as near
      Quran, The Ways of Ascent 70:6-7

Out in the blue infinitude
that reaches and touches us
sometimes, Hajar and Sarah
and Abraham work together
to dismantle the house of fear, brick
by back-breaking brick.
With a broom of their own weaving,
they sweep the last remains
away. They sit down for a meal
under the naked stars.

Ismaïl and Isaac come around shyly,
new and unlikely companions.
Hajar introduces them
to her second and third husbands
and a man from her pottery class
who is just a friend.
Hajar's twelve grandchildren
pick up Sarah's twelve at the airport.
The great-grandchildren appear,
set down their backpacks,
and tussle to put up the sleeping tents,
knowing there will be no more rams,
no more blood sacrifice...

Read the whole thing here. Holy wow.

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