Baring One’s Soul

Poetry is such a personal thing, it’s almost like a prayer. There is no other literary genre that enables the reader to look so closely into another person’s soul. I find it very sad that so many poets, unless they have established international reputations. are forced to self-publish their books. Publishers shy away from poetry because they know they will lose money on it , yet its resonating voice deserves to be heard because it can bring exquisite pleasure , and sometimes a stab of pain.

I have had many poems published over the years and count myself very lucky. Sometimes I include poems
in my novels, and one reader told me that it was like finding hidden jewels. Often I don’t plan it, it just seems to be the natural place for it, even in the midst of prose.

The new novel I am working on (my 14th) I hope to call “Searching for Sarah”. Although she is a modern young woman, my thoughts kept turning to the Biblical Sarah as I was writing. The agonising story of the binding of Isaac, when God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son as a sign of his complete obedience.
Of course, the angel stayed his hand before he could slay him, and it was never really a loving God’s intention to do more than test Abraham. We learnt the happy ending to the story, but his wife Sarah is believed to have died before she could be told that her son was safe. She gave birth to him in her old age, after longing for a child for so many years. Because I found myself thinking of this matriarch so much, I decided as a preface to the novel, I would write a poem about ny heroine’s namesake. This is what came out:


All my life I waited for this moment
When I would hold my son,
Recalling how Hagar would mock me
That she bore Ishmael
To my husband.

She is dark and comely
But there is evil in her heart.
She rejoiced as she lay with Abraham
And taunted me
That I was barren as the desert,
My womb as sand
That puts forth no fruit.

But God heard my anguish
And in my old age
He blessed me.
My sunken breasts
Filled with milk,
My body swelled with life.
And now I hold my son – Isaac.
No greater miracle than this!

To find out how to acquire my books, click on Books or About Me at the head of this blog. And I am always delighted when you leave a comment. If you have problems with your own writing, let me know and perhaps I can be of help.


9 thoughts on “Baring One’s Soul

  1. David Herman says:

    Dear Dvora, Many thanks for your feature on poetry. It was so apposite since I had just got up today from sitting shiva for my son Lee Yoel who wrote some beautiful poems that bared his soul. I attach my eulogy for him and his picture.With best wishes, David

  2. HSG says:

    Dvora, I can’t open your blog page from your email to me in order to finish reading your take on poetry. Since I have written over two volumes of poetry and published only a few individual poems in lit. mags., I am interested in your opinion.

    Avigdor Ben-Dov Jerusalem

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