Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A new poem for a July day.

A morning of dusty digging
Came to a close near noon, and
Our leader came around with
A bag of fresh peaches.

Israeli-grown, so fresh and ripe,
No effort was needed to bite
Into the soft wet flesh, and
Juice ran down her hands.

You stood nearby in that
Dusty t-shirt and brown hat
Hand on blue jean hip,
Watching as she licked her fingers.

July 1, 2008

The impetus for writing this poem was a friend describing his eating a peach.

Peaches now days are something I find at the local grocery. This year they are the size of a billiard ball and nearly as hard, for they never seem to be ripe in the store. I will buy two or three and put them in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. The morning before I want to eat one, I take it out and set it on the table. By afternoon it has softened and then late at night when I sit down to read, I will eat it. It's soft and the juice will invariably drip on my chest, but it sure isn't as the peach described in the poem.

That peach could start a rain storm.

The Salome No One Knows

It takes me quite a while to read the magazines I get. This morning I got around to reading the aforementioned article, published in the June/July 2008 issue of BAR [Biblical Archeology Review]. When I saw the title I thought it would be about the Salome I learned about in Mrs. Berna’s Sunday School Class. She was the girl who did such a seductive dance for King Herod, he offered her anything she wanted, up to half his kingdom. She took the advice of her mother and asked for the head of John the Baptist. What an image that was to a nine year old child! I recall there being a drawing of a bearded long haired head on a platter held up by a slave.

This article isn’t about that Salome. This Salome was Salome Alexandra and ruled Judea for nine years (76–67 B.C.E.). She married King Alexander Jannaeus when she was 29 and he was 14 or 16. Upon his death he named her ruler over his two grown sons. She was 73 when she died.

Politics among the historians of the time labeled her a prostitute and her short, amazingly peaceful rein was pretty much obscured by time. Isn’t it just like women who are successful and powerful to be slimed? I think it’s funny how this kind of thing is not just a modern way of handling a powerful woman.

Here’s a link to the article. Take a bit to read it and tell me what you think about Salome Alexandra and how her memory was handled.