Birthright and Blessing

Birthright and Blessing

Noah was the first
to till a line of soil;
the plow–once
a cudgel–turned
the soil over
as a single furrow.

Noah planted a vineyard,
and harvested the yield.
Thanking God
with the firstfruits,
Noah placed the rest
in earthenware.

Noah dug a hole,
digging down
beneath the surface
to find the coolest depth;
he dug and discovered
fresh water.

Noah dug more holes,
digging down
not as far
as the water
and buried
the earthenware.

As his family grew hungry,
and as the beasts
again multiplied,
Noah reclaimed
each earthenware
for consummation.

Careful to store the seeds,
Noah and his three
sons feasted and fasted.


From the first harvest,
from the fifth hole dug,
Noah recovered the earthenware.

He drank what remained.
He drank all that remained.
He did not know what he savored.

Ham saw that which
Adam and Eve saw,
the nakedness.

Ham broke silence,
his son received a curse:
servitude to Shem, who, with Japheth,

covered up with dignity
that inheritance of theirs
to honor their father’s name.

Japheth grew in wisdom and reason
through Shem’s guidance,
and once Ham’s son served him, too,

it became known
why Ham’s son saw nothing
to learn from Ham.

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