First Miracle

That sunlit day
Launched in laughter
Sunlight chasing rain
Dew on every leaf
Afloat on her Abba鈥檚 arm
Wiping her mother鈥檚 tears
Children racing underfoot
Afloat in heavenly scents
Sweet honeysuckle vines
Lily of the valley fragrant
And secret smiles hushed
Awaiting the moment
Of vows and blessings
A night of celebration
Below a starlit canopy
Torches blazing red
Hearts aflame with love
And in the midst of it all
The Lord鈥檚 first miracle
Took place quietly
As servants obeyed
Filling great clay jars
And聽water turned to wine
As the Galilean promised
The best saved for last
On her wedding day

漏 S. Michaels
In His Presence
John 2: 1-12

On A Foundation of Sapphires

Stone cold floor,聽washbasin of tears
Bitter stone,聽floors聽too familiar
All these years, a flat empty altar
Where she had kneeled,聽prayed
Pleas聽echoing in聽shattered songs
Tight fists battling聽pain. Barrenness.
Emptiness. Void. Nothing left.

Hannah, 讞谞讛, Chana, woman of grace
Woman of favor, so deeply loved
And yet,聽this聽fate – her childlessness!
A burden unbearable, and Elkanah
A devoted, caring man at last聽pleading
Declaring his love was surely enough

Yes, yes. It is. But doesn’t he know?
Does he not聽feel and bear this same longing…
For a child. Theirs. To hold. To love.

Woman, why do you weep?聽A bold voice.
In drunkenness of despair,聽Hannah did not聽hear
Again, the old聽priest Eli asked why she wept
Loudly, as if the聽temple bore her聽anguish

God give me a son! Send fruitfulness!
And I will give him back to You…

And deep within,聽she heard Isaiah’s words
Spoken by God not only for聽Israel, but for her
Sing! You who felt abandoned…Sing!
I will rebuild you, I will rebuild!
On a foundation of sapphires

In聽miracle days, Hannah’s son was born
Samuel. Extraordinary life gift. Born of faith.

漏 2012 S. Michaels
Divine Destinies – Poetic Portraits of Powerful Bible Women
Based on Hannah’s story. 1 Samuel 1 – 2:10聽and Isaiah 54:11

Author’s notes: In writing about Hannah, I considered how聽the Bible prophet Isaiah may have lived during or around the time of Hannah, which might mean聽Hannah聽could have heard him teach, perhaps in the temple where she prayed. I imagined Hannah聽being stirred by Isaiah’s words of God’s promised fruitfulness for Israel, and in bold faith, praying likewise over her own barrenness.聽 The聽deep blue stone, sapphire, is聽considered a symbol of heavenly grace.

The Hidden One 住职转值旨专

Wide irises soft as聽stardust
Scented with lemon and聽myrtle
Nestled in billowing聽tents
Skies torn apart by storms
鈥楬adassah鈥欌︹榟idden one鈥欌
My mother鈥檚 tears, sorrowing
Sensing from the start I was聽born
Far beyond her grasp, called away
Led afar, my聽beauty聽purchased
Lost in聽a household of strangers
Perfumed for a Persian king
I was to replace his wife, a betrayer of
His decrees. His wishes. His will.
鈥楨sther鈥欌 鈥榮tar鈥, he whispered
Coal fire eyes burning into my soul
A queen of secrets, little did he know
A Jewess, bright jewel, hidden by G_d
And in the land, darkness, spun from hell
A whirlwind of hatred for my people
Dooming my nation, my heritage
I wept and fasted three days
And risking all appeared before the king
Who had not called me for many days
鈥淚f I perish鈥 perish鈥︹ I prayed
Reaching out, voice low, I knelt
Before the Great Ahasuerus, and knew
His eyes. His voice. His love.
Esther, Hadassah, the hidden one
An honoured bride, a wife free
To arise with her king and declare
Deliverance…for my true beloved…Israel.

Copyright S. Michaels 2010 (Based on the Book of Esther, an excerpt from Divine Destinies: Poetic Portraits of聽Powerful Bible Women)聽Above image from ‘One Night with the King‘ (2006)

(Author’s note:聽Only 10 of my poetic portraits of Bible Women are shared on this blog. Esther is one of my favorites…The remaining women will be revealed聽with聽release of the book!聽 馃檪聽

The Forsaken One

Woman, why don鈥檛 we go somewhere?
Night and day, men coerced to buy her for a song
Eyes like a dove, wings clipped, unable to fly
Vulnerable, broken, pawned and stung by lies
Belittled by pain, her life a prison without bars
Forsaken by all, 鈥榓 deal鈥檚 a deal鈥, she was told
A fallen woman, half-mad she wept and wept inside
How did you fall so low, Magdalene?

Woman, why did you do the things you did?
Whispers taunting, sly judgments harsh
Then touched by His love inexpressibly tender
Seven demons fled as He demanded they leave her
Anointing Him before a brash company of men
Sweet nard mixed with tears, a year鈥檚 wages spilled forth
Men mocked, yet at His feet she washed with perfumed hair
Leave her alone, The Master said. She prepares me for my death.

Woman, tell me, why do you weep?
Strange and brutal question, on a day impossible to bear
Torn apart by the final curtain, and聽death鈥檚 cross too cruel
Sunlight failed to warm her, her heart broken near an empty tomb
‘Please tell me where they have taken him!’ The aching cry!
Mary鈥y Magdalene鈥His words rendered peace untold
Do you not know it is I?, and running on windswept hills,
Alive with truth, Magdalene rejoiced, 鈥楳y Saviour lives!’

Copyright 2010 S. Michaels聽 Based on聽the meeting of Christ-follower, Mary Magdalene, with the Risen Lord, Matthew 28; Excerpt from 鈥Divine Destinies 鈥 Poetic Portraits of聽Bible Women’

Tzipporah 爪执驻讜止专指讛

鈥樷 bird鈥欌
Seventh daughter, shepherdess
Winged seeker, questioner
Woman of vision soaring
Above entrails of ancient idols
Midianite gods and Ashteroth
Abandoned for Moshe鈥檚 faith
A bridegroom at a well
Like Rachel meeting Jacob
Inspiring each other
Serving him for love
Melding with Ha Shem鈥檚 plans
Aligned with a runner from God
Reflections in each others eyes
Soul mates, dual hearts of fire
Digging deep life鈥檚 wells
Passions imprinted forever
Tzipporah, bride of Israel鈥檚 future
Repentance pooled in deserts hot
Seeking refreshment鈥檚 birth
Oases songs聽sweetly sung

Copyright S. Michaels 2010

Based upon Exodus 2:16-22, excerpt from 鈥Divine Destinies 鈥 Poetic Portraits聽of聽Bible Women’聽