And my name’s forgotten

At night, I still remember hearing him,
        my good husband
praying, while they, our closest
        neighbors drank
and fornicated. But yet in togetherness
        we tilled the land
side by side at day we called them honest,
        friends and frank.

But one night, two angels came and
        wished us health
They urged us flee as soon we could,
        to leave behind
those sinning neighbors and go forth
        to save ourselves.
“Don’t look back”, they barked,
        “You’re too refined

to burn to cinder with them, you’re
        a superior breed”
My husband took our daughters, led them
        and in their wake
I trod, a beast of burden, strong, and
        I heard the deeds
of sinners fade for voices changed
        to screams and quakes

that shook the ground while from behind
        I watched his hands
that snaked, caressed the softness of
        my daughter’s skin,
I stopped, and in revulsion, turned my head,
        and saw through sand,
what freezed me to be the left a sculpture
        here alone; my sin

was that compassion for our neighbors
        fall or a contempt
from seeing. knowing what my husband
        really felt
and how he’d handle innocence, to use
        our daughter’s trust?
Now his name’s recorded in your scrolls,
        but I was dealt

to be forgotten, except as a missing
        link, appendicized
I’m the wife who couldn’t follow and deserted,
        turned to brine.
But I would argue still with force, and
        it’s not semantics
that my incestuous man, my Lot, was worse
        committing crimes.

The desert wind has ripped my clothes;
        alone and stoned
my limbs have ceased to reach, they can’t
        protect my child,
But when your books that claim me to
        be cursed or doomed
without a name, have withered; I can still
        resist your desert wild.

Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. Genesis 19:32

Albrecht Dürer - Lot and his daughters

Albrecht Dürer – Lot and his daughters

I have read a some poems by Carol Ann Duffy taking women from history and myth and write them from a different perspective. I have always thought the story of Lot, his wife and daughters might have glossed over another possible truth. So I let Lot’s wife been given a voice, and just maybe there are other possibilities for the events, and for this woman whose name is never even remembered. I will offer this poem at dVerse OLN who is hosted by Grace, join us with any poem when the doors open at 3 PM EST.

May 26, 2016

31 responses to “And my name’s forgotten

  1. Wow. This is really powerful. What a clever POV. I think these sections are especially strong:

    “while from behind I watched his hands that snaked, caressed the softness of my daughter’s skin, I stopped, and in revulsion, turned my head, and saw through sand” … Gorgeous.

    “my sin was compassion for our neighbors” … Man, this hits hard. There is so much truth in this.

    “The desert wind has ripped my clothes; alone and stoned” (hee hee)

    “without a name, have withered; I can still resist your desert wild” … I love the ending, where I presume you’re talking to God in anger.

    But you know, the scripture you referenced says something very different than what you’ve storied here. I think that it was likely a fairly common-ish cultural practice back then, albeit icky … if not with daughters, then probably nieces and such. But who knows? Not me. Regardless, I enjoyed the story and your language. Also the visual presentation.

  2. I’ve always been curious about Lot’s wife too. The biblical account reveals that Lot was saved by the Lord’s mercy, not that he was superior (obviously)! And the daughters used their father to conceive offspring…a strange tale to our modern ears for sure.

  3. Another uniquely woven, uniquely wonderful, uniquely Björn poem. You always inspire me to think about writing from a different point of view.

  4. Powerful, Bjorn. Myth like history was mostly written by men, so women had no voice of their own. This is a wonderful perspective. I love hearing Edith’s voice. I’ve always been a bit annoyed (okay, a lot annoyed) that the Bible doesn’t even name her (other than as “Lot’s wife). And her only trespass was curiosity, or as your poem suggests (and I like this so much better) compassion.

    Love, love, love! ♥

  5. Very different. You always seem to do the female POV so well which I think says much good about you. I never liked she was turned to stone, that in that culture (sadly too many today still) she was deemed to unimportant to name simply because she was a woman. We don’t really know why she looked back either. So compassion, curiosity, regret, fear…we do not know and can only use what would be our own motives for that looking back. You always weave these tales so well. You entertain us and you make us think.

  6. Fascinating and ambitious idea Bjorn, inspired by Carola and you certainly carry it off and in your own distinctive voice and very own sensibility too… Bravo! And a great start to my reading tonight – thank you…

  7. I admire the perspective, and a unique one from Lot’s wife ~ I have to go back and read the original story again Bjorn, but your version twists specially with the father’s handling of daughter’s innocence ~ Perhaps it is mercy or compassion ~ A fine reading tonight ~

  8. Thank you, Bjorn, for giving a voice, to one, which a male dominated society has silenced, by its omission. For the books, are written, by the victors, religious or otherwise.

  9. This is definitely one of your more unique poems, Bjorn. It really was refreshing, and came as a surprise. I mainly like how you bring to light something that is lost, trying to remember.

  10. VEry powerful Bjorn. I remember this tale and that it would always leave a bad taste in my head. I like that you chose this character to give voice too, your lyrical mastery reaching its peak in the closing lines.

  11. A most interesting read. This was a welcome perspective….giving her a voice, her own thoughts and opinions that have been denied in the story. I really enjoyed this.

  12. I love those retellings of famous Biblical or mythical stories – this was so powerful, so chilling. And a very interesting use of punctuation, line breaks, slant rhymes – a fragmented style, sometimes deliberately jarring, just like the thoughts and fears jostling in her mind.

  13. Very interesting to write from the viewpoint of the one less known. Some would say revisionist history is a necessity to give voice to the voiceless. Well done!

  14. A very interesting retelling of the story. Taking a look at an old story from a different (even fictitious)point of view lends a new life to the tale. Nicely done!

  15. This really does shed an uncomfortable light on the old story, and who’s to say there is no truth in it?

  16. Dude… this is an incredibly powerful and insightful take on Lot’s wife. I’m far from a biblical scholar, but that Genesis quote certainly sounds like quite the foreboding footnote.

  17. Very creative, Bjorn, to give Lot’s wife a voice. We don’t know of course what really happened with the ancients. These stories were teaching a lesson. Some take them literally and some do not. The Old Testament, as Christians have named it, stressed absolute duty to follow God’s wisdom and directions. Those who did not, suffered. Well written. —- Suzanne

  18. Indeed, many of those epic biblical and mythological tales to give one pause. Clearly, depravity is not a modern concept. An interesting postulation, absorbingly rendered.

  19. Given from a female perspective is wonderful twist Bjorn! The rhyming is great. Lot’s wife looked back and we can relate to stories of pillars of salts at present day locations bringing a reality to the biblical stories.


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