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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Hot and Cold (04/09/09)

TITLE: Upon the Serpent's Knee
By Karen Wilber
04/14/09


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In purple robes and linen
I supped on plates of gold
A sumptuous feast before me lay; its richness made me bold

Outside the soft descending
Of a soul, fragile and poor
As someone dropped a beggar by the garbage at my door

I fed the beast within me
Ulcered beauty I ignored
I wouldn’t even feed the dogs who licked his open sores

Sweet Lazarus you lay there
Tossed away and washed ashore
I’m told you longed to lick the crumbs that fell upon my floor

One night the angels caught you
And carried you away
To join in the eternal feast--a glorious buffet

On that same night I perished
My brothers said farewell, as they
Laid me in my tomb and spoke these words I heard in Hell

“His riches proved his righteousness”
You fools! I have no rest
Oh how I long to feel the cool embrace of Abr’am’s breast

Dear Abraham have mercy
Ease the torment of your son
Send Lazarus with finger dipped to cool my blazing tongue

Our Father sighed with pity,
“Dives, comforts came to you, but
You would not spare; you did not care when he cried out to you

A chasm separates us
You in Hell; Him, on my knee
He will find his comfort here and you, your agony.”

Then, Father, send him to my house
Five brothers--warn, I cried
I cannot bear to watch them burn beside me when they die

“If Moses and the Prophets
They’ll not heed when heard or read
They will not be persuaded by one risen from the dead”

Breezes brace sweet Lazarus
While I in sizzling fear
Writhe and write this song my tone deaf brothers cannot hear

Hasten, while you have the chance
Repent from sin. Turn. Flee.
Or join me as I sit upon the cursed Serpent’s knee


************************
Based on Luke 16:19-31
The Rich Man is sometimes called “Dives” (dye’-veez) which is Latin for “rich”.

In the English ballad Dives and Lazarus the rich man spends eternity in Hell, sitting on a serpent’s knee.


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This article has been read 729 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 04/16/09
Brilliant.
Charla Diehl 04/16/09
You masterfully captured the pure essence of this Bible story in perfect rhyme.
Verna Cole Mitchell 04/17/09
An awesome retelling of the Bible story.
Sonya Leigh04/18/09
So much truth packed in such a short poem. Well done.
Jan Ackerson 04/19/09
Wonderful image in the title (I'd never heard of that before), and you did a great job with your unusual structure and rhyme scheme. I enjoyed this very much.
Kristen Hester04/19/09
Good job! Thanks for your explanation at the end. I learned something new. Creative take on cold and hot.
Myrna Noyes04/20/09
WOW!! I loved this poem for both it's excellent composition and for its powerful message! (I had just read this Bible story for my morning devotions, so it was especially meaningful to me today!) So well written! :)
Carole Robishaw 04/21/09
Excellent job! Well done.
Joshua Janoski04/30/09
I don't write poetry, but I greatly admire those who can. This is a great poem, and there is much Biblical truth to be reminded of here. Loved reading this!