whisper me to sleep

One thing I love about writing poetry is attempting to get inside the head of a character – explore their thoughts and feelings from a specific point-of-view.

Those who know their Christian bible may recognize some allusion to the prophet Elijah in 1 Kings 18-19 where he has debunked (and slaughtered) Ahab & Jezebel’s prophets of Baal. Then flees for his life into the wilderness.

So much of Elijah’s story is about unquestioning devotion and service to god. But the only real insight we get into the enormous toll of this commitment on Elijah, the man, is when he lays under a broom bush (juniper) and prays that he might die.

That really struck me.

This poem, this prayer, came from that thought – what else might have gone through Elijah’s mind as he lay under that juniper wishing to die? Would he perhaps wonder about all he sacrificed in service to god without ever knowing earthly, mortal love?

Writ larger, I wonder in our own lives if we cannot relate to Elijah’s imagined point-of-view in this poem. How much do we give for others, never to receive anything in return? What is the cost? How necessary is mortal love to our fulfilment? Is god’s love alone enough?

Some deep questions – grounded wholly in opinion and faith. Keep it civil, please. I would love to hear your Comments below on that topic… and how the poem may have affected those thoughts.

-PS Conway ☘ ☘ ☘

☘ ☘ ☘ ☘ ☘

whisper me to sleep

o, lord, i am weary

lay me down in juniper

whisper me to sleep

the blood of false prophets flows in waves down

the Kishon, and a welcome rain washes

the slaughter to sea

my blood runs cold, i am alone again,

a servant in the cheerless company of

widows and angels

a ghost among ghosts, past my prime, my time

for earthly love shall not transpire, for who

would kiss a shadow?

but for just one kiss, a tender embrace,

a flush in my face to know life was more than

sacrifice and strife

yet, thy will be done, ease my yoke, let me

awake in your loving arms, precious Father,

the one true love i’ve known

o, lord, i am weary

lay me down in juniper

whisper me to sleep

6 comments

  1. So much to think about…the emotion in lines, “But for just one kiss…sacrifice and strife,” really touched me…

  2. Authors of scripture too often removed the humanity from their characters, replacing it with demi-god heroics and affect. Thank you for returning Elijah to us.

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