First Miracle

That sunlit day
Launched in laughter
Sunlight chasing rain
Dew on every leaf
Afloat on her Abba’s arm
Wiping her mother’s 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’s first miracle
Took place quietly
As servants obeyed
Filling great clay jars
And water turned to wine
As the Galilean promised
The best saved for last
On her wedding day

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

On A Foundation of Sapphires

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Hidden One סְתֵּר

Wide irises soft as stardust
Scented with lemon and myrtle
Nestled in billowing tents
Skies torn apart by storms
‘Hadassah’…‘hidden one’…
My mother’s tears, sorrowing
Sensing from the start I was born
Far beyond her grasp, called away
Led afar, my beauty purchased
Lost in a household of strangers
Perfumed for a Persian king
I was to replace his wife, a betrayer of
His decrees. His wishes. His will.
‘Esther’… ‘star’, 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
“If I perish…I perish…” 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 Powerful Bible Women) Above image from ‘One Night with the King‘ (2006)

(Author’s note: 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 with release of the book!  🙂 

The Forsaken One

Woman, why don’t 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, ‘a deal’s a deal’, 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’s 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 death’s 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…my Magdalene…His words rendered peace untold
Do you not know it is I?, and running on windswept hills,
Alive with truth, Magdalene rejoiced, ‘My Saviour lives!’


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

Tzipporah צִפוֹרָה

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

Copyright S. Michaels 2010

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