Poems

Joseph

Nov 2016    

Young Joseph

drunk with the champagne

of the stars

that with the sun and moon

did obeisance to him

before the congregation

of celestial lights,

blurted out too early

the secret message

entrusted to him

to the hostile ears

of brethren

seething to see him

in the rainbow coat

bestowed so foolishly

by a doting patriarch;

they sold him to flesh merchants

and his blood-sodden coat

serving to seal a lie,

broke the heart of Jacob

who mourned his loss

for many-a-year.

 

Joseph learnt too late that Wisdom sits

at the threshold of utterance,

weighing the merits

of speaking or withholding

truth that offends

or gives freedom

to the wise.

 

Growing up

in the shadow of the sphinx

and pyramid,

in the prisons

and then royal courtyards

of the King and princes

of Egypt,

Joseph, upright and faithful

to the Lord of Hosts,

was given the mystic key

to unlock the dreams

hidden in the mind

of Pharaoh

and to speak forth

the secret message

from the Lord Himself

to save Egypt

from deadly peril

and to prosper it

beyond all lands

with overflowing granaries;

and for this revelation

he was made prince

to sit at the right hand

of Pharaoh

and to bring into being

the vision that the Lord

had given him alone.

 

Then for the seven

lean years

that followed,

when neighbouring lands

gripped by the deadly hand

of the worst famine

the world had ever known,

came knocking at Egypt’s door

for life-sustaining grain,

Joseph’s brethren slithered in

to beg for grain.

Now in his power

to dispense life or death,

unrecognised,

his brothers did obeisance before him

just as he saw them do

in his youthful dream.

 

Would he exact just vengeance

or bring them to true repentance

and to the path of righteousness?

 

But when at the last

he saw Benjamin

his youngest brother,

his heart relented.

Revealing to their great terror

who he really was,

Joseph told them

that in His providence

Yahweh had turned

their unspeakable deed

into the means

of their salvation

from certain death,

that only

the incomprehensible clemency

and grace

of the Divine

had turned evil

into redeeming good

and given them

the fertile land of Goshen

as their dwelling place.

 

Genesis 37, 41-47

Dr Oliver Seet –

is a member of Wesley Methodist Church and a Board Director of the Metropolitan YMCA.

Background picture by Vitaliy Pakhnyushchyy/Bigstock.com

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