Oh, Ichabod

Cf. 1 Samuel 4.Israel, having ignored God and his warnings, nevertheless attempted to use the ark of his presence to their benefit. He had, however, left already. Old fat Eli and his idolatrous sons died, and his daughter-in-law went into labour and died from the trauma. This is a poem for that child in the wake of tragedy, whose mother pronounced the truth of it all.

Ichabod (Hebrew: אִיכָבוֹד‎, ikhavodno gloryinglorious or “where is the glory?”)

Oh Ichabod, your mother is dead.
And your grandfather has fallen.
And your father, and his brother,
dishonourably dischargèd.

You are firstborn in the gloryless land,
and the idolised ark has gone
to Ashdod with the coastal men,
and God has dealt his hand.

Oh, Ichabod, weep, as Dagon bows.
Your mother saw it first.
And now you face the stark unveiled
reality of Israel’s broken vows.

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